Kerala

CM scores by withdrawing nod for Aranmula airport

The public mood in the heritage village of Aranmula is upbeat following Wednesday’s State government decision cancelling the industrial area notification of 2011 and the in-principle approval of 2010 for the proposed Aranmula International Airport.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government has scored points by withdrawing the notification and other clearances issued by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by V.S. Achuthanandan favouring the controversial private airport project at Aranmula, thereby bringing an end to the entire controversy.

In an extraordinary gazette notification issued on March 1, 2011, the Secretary to the Industries Department had declared 500 acres of land in Aranmula, Mallappuzhasserry and Kidangannur villages as industrial area in connection with the in-principle approval granted by the then government to the Aranmula Airport project on September 8, 2010.

Led to protests

The airport project that required conversion of a large extent of the Aranmula puncha (paddy land and wetland) had triggered widespread protests from the villagers as well as environmentalists. An all-party action council chaired by poet and socio-environmentalist Sugathakumari vehemently campaigned against the airport.

The mass movement coordinated by former Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Kummanam Rajashekharan had succeeded in bringing both the left and the right wing leaders to a common platform in their crusade for the common cause of environment conservation, protection of paddy fields,wetlands and natural streams. The CPI(M) politbureau member, M.A. Baby, even publicly confided that the previous LDF government had committed a mistake by supporting the Aranmula airport project.

Indefinite satyagraha

The indefinite satyagraha staged by the action council was stopped on the 108th day following the National Green Tribunal verdict cancelling the Environment Clearance granted by the Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change for the airport project on May 28, 2014.

G. Sudhakaran, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, Binoy Viswam, P. Prasad, Kanam Rajendran, Thomas Issac, A. Padmakumar, all Communist leaders; V. Muraleedharan, K. Krishnankutty, BJP-RSS leaders; V.M. Sudheeran, Malethu Saraladevi, K.K. Royson, Congress leaders; Madhav Gadgil, V.S. Vijayan, K.P. Sreeranganathan, environmentalists; and P. Induchoodan, Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council president; were among those who addressed the public meetings at Aranmula during the 108-day satyagraha.

Peelipose Thomas and Shaji Chacko, former Congress leaders, quit the party and joined the CPI(M) for actively taking part in the agitation, which was against the declared policy of the previous United Democratic Front government that had supported the project.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 1:10:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/CM-scores-by-withdrawing-nod-for-Aranmula-airport/article16723115.ece

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