Kozhikode

Environment is priority for these candidates

C. Nimisha Rajesh  

While mainstream political parties have ignored environmental issues in their campaigns for local body polls, green organisations across Kozhikode district have come forward to make sure that their voices are heard through their own candidates, mostly Independents.

Quite a number of such candidates have been fielded to local bodies in the district, mostly in the high lands where stone quarrying has disrupted normal life. Some of them are Mathayi Pulimoottil contesting to Koodaranhi grama panchayat, Edodi Chandran contesting to Narippatta grama panchayat, C. Nimisha Rajesh to Thalakkulathur, Jobi Cholakkal to Kottur grama panchayat and K. Vishwanathan contesting to Kunnamangalam block panchayat from Poovattuparamba division.

Mathayi Pulimoottil

Mathayi Pulimoottil  

Mathayi is a social worker who has been in the forefront of the public protest against granite quarries at Koombara in Koodaranhi panchayat. Being a member of the the anti-quarry protest committee in the panchayat where there are five quarries within 1-kilometre radius, Mathayi’s candidature was unsurprising for local people who wish to put and end to the functioning of quarries and save their land located in a high risk area in the Western Ghats.

“This region is at risk of landslips. Our efforts to check these quarries have not been very fruitful. The panchayat is planning to grant permission to more quarries. We should be part of the local body to influence decisions regarding them,” Mr. Mathayi, an Independent candidate, said.

Edodi Chandran

Edodi Chandran  

Edodi Chandran’s ward had suffered landslips in the past. He is a candidate of the CPI(ML) and a member of the protest committee against the 150-acre wide quarry in the panchayat. Besides quarrying, wild animal menace and the panchayat’s failure to protect crops also prompted Mr. Chandran to contest.

Nimisha is an Independent candidate at Thalakkulathur whose family has been part of the protest against laterite quarrying at Eliyoramala for the past two years.

“The 100 acre-hillock will be no more in a few years if the mining goes on at the current pace. The hillock is very crucial in maintaining water balance in our locality. Our wells that never used to dry up in the past started drying up after the quarrying started,” she said.

Jobi Cholakkal

Jobi Cholakkal  

Jobi Cholakkal is a representative of the Chengottumala Protection Committee in the Kottur grama panchayat. His candidature is in support of the 2000 odd families that are affected by granite quarries in the panchayat.

K. Vishwanathan

K. Vishwanathan  

K. Vishwanathan, a retired policeman, is now in the forefront of the protest against a proposed township by a prominent builder on a hillock in Peruvayal grama panchayat. Builders have converted a rubber plantation into commercial plots where villas and apartments are coming up, despite a negative report from environment bodies. “The streams that originate here contribute to Mampuzha. But many of them have already dried up. Our paddy fields are also disappearing fast,” Mr. Vishwanathan said.

“Quarry mafia and political parties that support them have been trying to dissuade us from contesting. They threatened another candidate so much that he stopped campaigning,” Mr. Chandran said. Nimisha pointed out that contesting with the support of the anti-quarry committee itself was a huge risk for her life, but decided to go ahead for the cause she believed in.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 12:25:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/environment-is-priority-for-these-candidates/article33207681.ece

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