A collective of environmental, social and cultural organisations in the district is holding a protest at Kattilpeedika near Vengalam on Thursday against the implementation of K-Rail on the grounds that the project would adversely affect the natural ecosystem of north Kerala.
A meeting of the organisations under the aegis of the All Kerala River Protection Committee on Monday led to the formation of a solidarity committee in support of the ongoing protests against K-Rail. State secretary of the River Protection Committee, T.V. Rajan, said that K-Rail, along with the tunnel road to Wayanad, would lead to large-scale destruction of the forest and cause water shortage in the region.
The Madayipara biodiversity park in Kannur would have to be destroyed to set up K-Rail. This would lead to the drying up of rivulets in Kuppam, Ramapuram, and Perumba, besides affecting the 637 identified plant species, 142 species of butterflies, 186 species of birds, 60 species of dragonflies, 24 species of reptiles and 19 species of mammals. The Kavvayi lake, the third largest in the State and an ecologically fragile water body, which was the meeting place of seven rivers, would dry out. The absence of laterite hills would end the flow of water to the rivers and the lake. The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, the lotus plantation in Thirunavaya, and the kole wetlands in Ponnani and Thrissur would be affected by K-Rail, which would cross more than 160 water sources. All this would result in utmost water scarcity in north Kerala, Mr. Rajan said.
On the tunnel road project across the Western Ghats, they said it would affect the capacity of the hills to hold rain water. The tunnel going under the ecologically fragile ghats would lead to the destruction of the Chalippuzha, Iruvazhinji river, Marippuzha, and Cherupuzha, besides affecting the flow of water into the Chaliyar. Building a tunnel through the Vellarimala, Vavul Mala, and Thollayiram Kandi, within the Ghats, would require large-scale deforestation, Mr. Rajan said, adding that the government was going ahead with the project without a proper environmental impact study and clearance from the Forest Department.
Around 20 organisations, including the Western Ghats River Protection Committee, Prakrithi Samrakshana Samiti, Sarvodaya Mandalam, Lohya Vichara Vedi, Paristhithi Samrakshana Samiti and National Centre for Nature and Environment, besides the Chemmaram Wetland Protection Committee are part of the protest.