Staff Reporter

Bishop inaugurates protest meeting

KOCHI: Its bane of the land that residents of Moolamppilly continue to live as refugees in their place of birth, said Ernakulam Archdiocese Auxilliary Bishop Sebastian Edayanthrath.

He was inaugurating a protest meeting of displaced people at Menaka Junction in the city. This is the third month of their displacement from the Island for the proposed Vallarpadom Container terminal. He said that it is cruel to tell those evicted from their land to find land for rehabilitation by themselves. This protest is meant to awaken the collective consciousness of the society. No administration can stop if the society rises in unison, the Bishop said. The protestors took a pledge to continue the struggle till the rehabilitation package for residents of Moolamppilly is fully implemented and land is registered for those displaced from other areas. Moolamppilly church vicar Father Martin Kuttikatt administered the oath.

General convener of the coordination committee for those displaced by the development project Francis Kalathunkal presided over the meeting and leaders of various rights organisations and committees representing residents of areas affected by the project spoke.

A meeting of the committee held here on Monday had observed that even though the State Government announced a special rehabilitation package nearly one-and-a-half months ago, the district administration has done nothing in this direction. Residents of Moolamppilly were evicted following the assurance given to T. K. A. Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

Now the district administration has assured the Union Shipping Secretary A.V. P. N. Sharma to complete land acquisition by May 31 and is all set to repeat the evictions in Vaduthala, Mulavukadu, Cheranalloor and Manjummel, the Committee said.