Revive paddy cultivation: Sudheeran, Sugathakumari

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran and poet Sugathakumari have demanded that the government repeal its decision to have 10 per cent stake in the Aranmula international airport project. The poet demanded that the government cancel the permission for the project.

Mr. Sudheeran and Ms. Sugathakumari told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday that the government decision had been made disregarding the serious findings of the Assembly committee on environment that had cited the lapses committed by various officials in reclaiming paddy fields and violation of rules. The Cabinet decision amounted to whitewashing the previous LDF government’s decision to grant permission for the project without conducting the mandatory studies, including the environment impact assessment. This would create a wrong precedent.

Government participation in the company would help the promoters to gain undue advantage and help to bypass the land use rules and paddy field and wetland conservation rules. The government had taken share in a project in which the District Collector had given a directive to cancel the transfer of registry of the land.

In such cases, there would either be an order for a judicial probe or an inquiry by an Assembly committee. No such decisions had been made with regard to this project. The government was abetting the wrong-doings of the company, they said.

The controversy over the project could have been averted had the promoters and the government followed all procedures laid down by the law. All mandatory procedures should be followed before launching any project. Mr. Sudheeran clarified that he was not against development or any new venture, but only demanded that it should not be at the cost of natural resources and compromising the rules.

The government should take the lead in reviving paddy cultivation and conserving the water bodies in the area, instead of trying to set up the airport.