KERALA

Attipara village up in arms against land acquisition

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Oct. 26. The protest over the Government move to acquire 300 acres in the Attipra village to create a land bank for the software industry is fast snowballing into a mass movement. The action council against the acquisition has chalked out an agitation programme to force the Government to back out of the move.

On Sunday, councillors representing the five Corporation wards of Attipra, Kuzhivila, Pallithura, Kulathur and Poundukadavu shot off a letter to the Chief Minister urging him to withdraw the Government order sanctioning the proposal.

The letter said the acquisition would displace 400 families and deprive them of their livelihood. It said the unpopulated land on the Technopark campus bordering the Aakulam canal could be better utilised to accommodate new software companies.

Alleging that the Government had turned a deaf ear to the protest by the local people, the councillors warned that any move to forcibly evict families would invite strong public action.

On Monday, the action council was planning a mass despatch of protest letters to the Chief Minister. A pressnote here today said hundreds of residents would turn up at the Kulathoor Post Office to send letters. The Kazhakuttam MLA, M.A. Wahid, will inaugurate the programme.

Local people feel that the acquisition would displace hundreds of families and spell doom for the few remaining paddy fields in the region. They fear that conversion of wetlands would cause irreparable damage to the environment, impacting on their lives.

The Attipra village had witnessed a steady fall in the area under cultivation as commercial and industrial projects claimed large chunks of the fertile paddy belt. The reclamation of wetland zones has affected their water retention capacity, leading to acute drinking water scarcity during the summer months and flooding of low-lying areas in the rainy season.

Groundwater depletion has been reported from almost every locality in the village. Residents fear that the water scarcity would become acute if the remaining wetlands are filled up and parcelled out for commercial projects.

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