KERALA

Residents’ protest puts road survey on hold

Boiling ire:Police removing residents blocking the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road at Chakkarakkal in Kannur on Thursday in protest against the survey for a greenfield road. —PHOTO: S.K. MOHAN

Boiling ire:Police removing residents blocking the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road at Chakkarakkal in Kannur on Thursday in protest against the survey for a greenfield road. —PHOTO: S.K. MOHAN  

The ongoing survey for the proposed Greenfield Kannur-Mattannur road, billed as a major infrastructure to the proposed Kannur airport site, has been suspended after local residents protested against it at Chakkarakkal here.

The agitation, launched by an action committee of the residents at Chakkarakkal against the survey, had resumed on June 9. On Thursday, the survey work was disrupted though large number of police personnel was deployed in the area.

The protestors fiercely opposed the survey team and resorted to road blockade. Nearly 700 protestors, including large number of women, participated in the agitation. Despite provocation, the police restrained themselves to ensure that the situation did not lead to any showdown.

Road traffic on the Chakkarakkal-Echur-Kannur road was disrupted for hours after the agitating residents blockaded the road by burning tyres on it. The protestors also resisted the police efforts to arrest and remove them. The road blockade continued till 3.30 p.m.

The Chakkarakkal police said 16 protestors, including women, were arrested by the police. Special Tahsildar P. Govindan, who headed the 12-member survey team, later confirmed that the survey was suspended because of the agitation. He said the survey work, which resumed on June 9, could cover only 1,800 metres. A total stretch of nine kms had earlier been surveyed, he added. He also said the survey work was temporarily suspended following the intervention of the Anjarakkandy panchayat president K. Chandran. As District Collector Rathan Kelkar was on an official tour, the work would resume only after his return in two days, Mr. Govindan said.

Action committee leader M. Muhammadali alleged that the survey was being conducted without informing members of the local bodies and the action committee representatives. The district administration urged the protestors that the survey work should be allowed to resume. The Collector had also appealed to the local residents to cooperate with the ongoing survey work, citing the decision at the meeting convened by Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph here on June 30 to discuss the issue with people’s representatives and leaders of the action committee.

That meeting had assured the action committee that the government would also consider the development of the existing road from Kannur to Mattannur.

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