The development of the domestic terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport has been causing a big headache to the residents of Vallakadavu and Vayyamoola regions here, who fear eviction for land acquisition.
On the 20 acres of land, that is to be reportedly acquired, around 130 families reside. “Most of the families have been living here for several years and they want to retain their land than being given any compensation such as money or job,” said Shajida Nazar, Vallakadavu ward councillor and Development Standing Committee chairperson of the City Corporation.
In protest against the eviction, a dawn-to-dusk hartal was observed at Vallakadavu and surrounding areas the other day. Besides, under the aegis of the Vallakadavu-Vayyamoola Joint Action Council, a ‘rights protection march’ was taken out from Asan Square at Palayam to the Secretariat which saw the participation of hundreds of people.
“Several years ago, in the name of eviction, land belonging to the residents were acquired by the airport authorities. We have submitted a memorandum in this regard to the authorities concerned, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy,” said N Vikraman Nair, convenor of Vallakkadavu-Vayyamoola Joint Action Council.
Various cultural organisations and political parties participated in the protest.
The action council is also demanding that the move to demolish Kaniyankara Punnamoodu Devi Temple, that falls under the proposed 20 acres of land, be dropped. “The temple is so ancient that it has a history of eight centuries. Demolishing such an old temple for airport development cannot be allowed,” added Vikraman Nair.
The other demands of the action council include setting up of a drainage line so that coastal areas, including Vallakadavu, shall benefit from the sewage treatment plant coming up under the JNNURM project; reinforcement and reconstruction of the bridges in the area; resuming the functioning of the Vallakadavu Boat Club; opening of the Enchakkal KSRTC bus terminal; and rehabilitation of the people living in the ‘puramboke’ land near the sewage farm under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).