Disasters strike when people who are not familiar with the local environs undertake activities in the name of development without considering the opinion of local people and the specific features of the environment, A. Achuthan, environmentalist, has said.

Dr. Achuthan was presenting the topic at a seminar on ‘Development of Smrithi Vanam and environment protection’ as part of a programme organised by the V.K. Krishna Menon Smrithivana Samrakshana Samithi here on Sunday.

The laterite soil of the plateau regions of the State stored enormous quantities of water.

This was what kept the soil in the low lands soft for generations. As the little hills in the regions were flattened, to obtain laterite stones for construction, we began facing droughts.

The little hills and the water bodies below them had been important in maintaining environmental balance not only in Kozhikode, across the State and hence it was important to retain these in their original state, he added.

Local opinion

The opinion of local people should be sought before introducing any development projects in the Eravathukunnu region where the Smrithi Vanam was located. It was founded in 1993 with the aim to develop it as a landmark, but nothing materialised, Dr. Achuthan said.

Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef, who inaugurated the seminar, said scarcity of land in the possession of the Corporation was a major stumbling block for implementing any project at the Smrithi Vanam. The land for Smrithi Vanam was given on lease to the Forest Department but the department failed to work on the project.

A large chunk of land in the vicinity of the Smrithi Vanam had been allotted to the Model ITI, Kendriya Vidyalaya, and the Kerala Water Authority. Only a few acres were left with the Corporation now, he said.

Butterfly park

The Corporation had plans to set up a Butterfly Park and sight-seeing points at the Smrithi Vanam, but it was possible only of the excess land is returned to the Corporation, he added.

Earlier, a painting competition was organised for students in four categories. Pulluvan pattu and Nadan pattu were rendered on the occasion.