Protest against private airport project

The mass movement launched by the villagers of Aranmula against the proposed private airport project at Aranmula enters its 400th day on Monday.

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran will be inaugurating a public meeting organised by the people’s action council at Aranmula on Monday afternoon, according to P. Induchoodan, Palliyoda Pallivilakku Samrakshana Samiti (PPSS) convener.

Mr. Induchoodan said the agitation against the controversial airport project began with the popular protest march to the ‘Utsav’ programme, organised by the Tourism department in Aranmula on December 17, 2012.

Under threat

The airport project that threatened even the existence of six Palliyodakkaras (quaint areas) in and around Aranmula would lead to destruction of the age-old places of the heritage village, he said.

Heritage area

Mr Induchoodan said the United Nations Development Programme had identified Aranmula as a heritage area and the proposed airport project that required the conversion of a vast expanse of the Aranmula puncha (paddy land) and wetland would lead to drying up of river Pampa, and play requiem to the famous snakeboat regatta, the Uthrittathi Vallamkali.

It would also result in several factors that would affect the socio-environmental fabric of the region.

Protests

Mr. Induchoodan said the PPSS had organised a series of protests against the airport project on the directions of renowned poet Sugathakumari, a native of Aranmula, over the past one year.

Solidarity expressed

Socio-cultural activists from different parts of the State as well as leaders of various political parties had visited Aranmula, expressing solidarity with the people’s movement for a just cause.

Former Planning Board member and All India Congress Committee member Peelipose Thomas, former District Panchayat president K.K. Royson, former Aranmula MLA Malethu Saraladevi, and former president of the Congress mandalam committee Shaji Chacko will also address the public meeting to be held at 4 p.m., he said.

Mr. Induchoodan said the PPSS had various other popular groups like the Thriuvaranmula Paitrhuka Grama Karma Samiti, Prakruthi Samrakshana Samyukta Vedi, etc. for support in its agitation against the controversial airport project.

Panel report

The Legislative Committee on Environment, chaired by Congress legislator C.P. Mohammed, had unanimously opposed the airport project that required wanton conversion of paddy land.

The Assembly panel had found that a portion of the Aranmula puncha and a natural stream were illegally converted by the land mafia in the name of the airport project.

Probe recommended

The State Land Board had recommended a vigilance probe into the land deals that had taken place in the name of the private airport project. Recently, the District Collector had directed the Tahsildar and the village officers concerned to cancel the mutation of 232 acres of land sold by Abraham Kalamannil of the Mount Zion Trust to the KGS Group, promoters of the private airport project, Mr Induchoodan said.

He alleged that the Chief Minister’s statement that the State government had decided to take 10 per cent equity in the proposed Aranmula Airport project was part of a hidden agenda to regularise all illegalities that took place at the instance of the land mafia in Aranmula.


  • Sudheeran to inaugurate public meeting today

  • Legislative panel had unanimously opposed project


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