As many as 410 families in Mulanthuruthy are living under the fear of a possible eviction, thanks to the reported move of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to acquire 500 acres of land in the panchayat.
The land is being acquired for the electronics hub project of NIMZ (National Investment Manufacturing Zone).
Social activists here told ‘City Express’ that though people have raised their voice against the project, the authorities are still playing behind the curtains for taking the project forward.
“The plan is to acquire the land from the ninth ward of Mulanthuruthy panchayat and first and second wards of Edakkattuvayal panchayat. Though the authorities claim that only barren land will be acquired it’s only a tactic to evict the residents in the area, as the place is thickly populated. Actually, the authorities are trying to implement the project by misleading the public,” Eby Paramban, a resident of Mulanthuruthy, said.
The residents also demanded the immediate intervention of the authorities to block the KSIDC move to acquire the land. “Most of the people here depend on agriculture as a means of living and we will lose our source of income. The KSIDC has conducted a survey for land acquisition and the file has been moved for the approval of the Centre,” said Subhash Arakkunnam, a social activist.
They also doubt the veracity of assurance given by the authorities to withdraw the project due to opposition from the residents, as a decision on it is yet to be announced. “The project will be taken up up after Lok Sabha elections otherwise politicians are likely to lose votes,” he said.
Mulanthuruthy panchayat authorities said that “NIMZ is investing a `53,825-crore project in four districts __ Thrissur, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Palakkad. The KSIDC is acquiring as many as 1,200 acres in the districts for NIMZ,” they said.
However, panchayat president Raji Chakravarthy said the project will be prevented from being implemented in the panchayat. “We will ask the government to withdraw the project from the area,” she said.
Meanwhile, K G Ajith Kumar, Deputy General Manager, KSIDC, said that KSIDC is not bent on acquiring the land from the area. “The project will not be implemented if residents are against it,” he said.
However, District Collector P I Sheikh Pareeth said the administration has found that the area is thickly populated. I have given a request to the Revenue Secretary stating that the land acquisition is not possible in Mulanthuruthy and some other location must be identified for the proposed project.