KOCHI:The people of Karumaloor, near Aluva, commenced their second round of struggle for their right to live. They joined the protests staged in the area on Monday.
The CPM Alangad Area Committee formed a human chain in the paddy field, near Palakkal, urging the state government to backtrack from the move, on Wednesday. There is a strong mafia behind the conversion of paddy fields into other zones, the party will not allow any stealthy move in the name of industrialisation, the CPM said.
The Revenue joint secretary had directed Ernakulam District Collector to negotiate the purchase of around 350 acres of paddy field at Karumaloor to set up an industrial development zone for the state-run Kinfra.
Eight years ago, the people here had successfully resisted an attempt of land takeover by INKEL.
“The previous government had tried to acquire around 300 acres of land, comprising paddy fields, near the proposed site. But the project had to be aborted following strong public protest,” said N Ramachandran, a social activist.
Now the present government has instructed the District Collector through a government order (GO (Rt) No 1781/15/RD dated 31/03/2015) to acquire 350 acres at Karumaloor, he said. A major portion of the paddy field that was once fallow has been now converted into acres of arable land through farmers initiatives.
Since 90 per cent of the proposed area comprises paddy fields, which retain large amount of water during monsoon season and post monsoon, it plays a major role in recharging the wells and ponds and maintaining the ground water level.
If the land is converted into an industrial zone without taking note of the protest of the people living around the area, it would be a blow to the ecology of the area as the authorities would resort to mining as part of the development work, he said.
Beena Babu, Karumaloor panchayat president, said the panchayat committee has already conveyed its displeasure over the government move to the District Collector, Revenue Minister and Chief Minister.
The panchayat will not allow setting up an industrial zone in its limit at the cost of 350 acres of paddy land, she said.
The government has constituted a monitoring committee to take decisions regarding land acquisition.
Govt Has to Okay the Land: Kinfra
A KINFRA spokesperson said that they have forwarded a project proposal to the state government for setting up an industrial zone in Kochi along with three other major proposals in different parts of the state. “It is up to the government to provide the required land for the project after scrutinising the proposed land. We will never ask the government to provide arable land for the project as it’s our official policy not to use arable land for industrial projects, he said.