Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has termed mysterious President Pranab Mukherjee’s announcement that the Aranmula airport project has been given in-principle approval.

In a statement here on Thursday, Mr. Achuthanandan said there was no comparison between the State-promoted Kannur airport project and that at Aranmula, which had not received clearance under land and environment laws. The District Collector had given a report to the State government listing the many violations committed by the airport’s private promoter group. The President had given legitimacy to the violations with his speech, the Opposition Leader said.

Pathanamthitta Staff Reporter writes:

The announcement has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters in Pathanamthitta and elsewhere in the State. In a strongly worded statement on Thursday, Kummanam Rajashekharan, chief patron of the people’s action council, Thiruvaranmula Paithruka Grama Karma Samithi, condemned the Centre’s decision saying it was tantamount to deceiving the common people.

‘Disheartening’

Poet and social activist Sugathakumari said Mr. Mukherjee’s announcement was disheartening. The Kerala government had succeeded in misleading even the President on the “anti-people and anti-nature” private airport project, which would do more harm than good, she said.

‘Wicked ways’

Thomas Peeliyanickal, chairman of Kuttanad Development Council, said it was strange to watch the “wicked” ways in which the Centre was making attempts to violate various important laws of a State and that too to protect the interests of a private company.

CPI charge

Communist Party of India State secretary Pannian Ravindran alleged that the President was trying to whitewash all the unlawful activities and irregularities that had taken place in the name of the private airport project at Aranmula. The CPI leader alleged that the announcement in Parliament had exposed an unholy nexus that involved a major land scam.

Prathapan’s call

T.N. Prathapan, Congress MLA, said any project that damaged the environment and nature could not be considered a development initiative. Mr. Prathapan said the Legislative Committee on Environment, chaired by C.P. Mohammed, had found the proposed private airport project at Aranmula highly detrimental to the environment.

Karshaka Sanghom stir

Omalloor Sankaran, State joint secretary of Kerala Karshaka Sanghom, affiliated to the CPI(M), alleged that the President’s announcement was nothing short of a move to impose a corporate development agenda on the common man. He said the sanghom would continue its agitation at Aranmula.

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