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Evictees at Edachira take out march

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TROUBLED TIMES: A participant of the Collectorate march organised in protest against the acquisition of land for the Smart City project at a sit-in in the city on Monday. Photo: H. Vibhu
TROUBLED TIMES: A participant of the Collectorate march organised in protest against the acquisition of land for the Smart City project at a sit-in in the city on Monday. Photo: H. Vibhu

Staff Reporter

Vow to resist land acquisition for Smart City project

KOCHI: Members of the 58 families facing eviction from 13 acres of land being acquired by the State Government at Edachira for the proposed Smart City project took out a march to the District Collectorate on Monday.

They organised a meeting in protest against the move and vowed to resist the land acquisition until the Government finalised a rehabilitation package and paid remunerative price to the landowners.

The police, deployed in strength near the Kakkanad Civil Station, stopped the protestors at the Collectorate gate.

The protest was organised by the forum of people facing eviction for the Smart City project and the Coordination Committee of Evictees from different parts of Ernakulam district.

Residents of Edachira observed a half-day hartal on Monday in protest against the order from the District Administration. As per the order, the landowners were directed to hand over possession to the designated Revenue Inspector by May 2.

Speakers at the meeting said the evictees had no choice but to fight the "unjust move" by the Government.

V. Venugopal, general secretary of the Janakiya Pradhirodha Samithy, inaugurated the meeting and C.R. Neelakandan, social activist, delivered the keynote address. The speakers said the eviction notice served on the landowners on Saturday would not hold good before the law. They said the Government move had jeopardised the lives of the evictees at Edachira.

Rehabilitation package

Though the powers that be reiterated that they had finalised a rehabilitation package, nothing had been done to this effect. Samithy leaders had met the Chief Minister and had been assured that their demands would be met.

Until a comprehensive rehabilitation package was announced and remunerative price fixed for the land, the agitation would continue, they said. The land price fixed by the Government was very low, they added. While the best land was being paid Rs.84,000 for a cent, the actual price of land in the area ranged between Rs.5 lakh and 8 lakh, they said.

Leaders of various organisations spearheading agitations against evictions for various projects extended their support to the Edachira people's agitation.

The coordination committee comprises 12 organisations and leaders of the organisations spoke at the meeting. District Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish said further steps would be taken only after consulting the Government.

About the notice served on the landowners on Wednesday, the Collector said it was a statutory notice issued by the Government.

Members of the Communist Party of India(ML), Ernakulam district committee, took out a march to the Collectorate to express their solidarity with the people of Edachira.

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