KOCHI: District Collector M G Rajamanickam on Tuesday asked the Industries Department to review its decision to set up an industrial development zone at the Karumalloor village near Aluva. The District Collector told the Department to review its decision following widespread protests from the public, political parties and non-governmental organisations against the project.
Earlier, the government had instructed the District Collector, through a government order (GO Rt No 1781/15/RD dated 31/03/2015), to acquire 300 acre of land for the State-run KINFRA to set up an industrial development zone at Karumalloor, through negotiated purchase.
Since then, people’s organisations and political parties have been taking out protest marches. They have also chalked out strike programmes at the proposed site, until the government reverses its decision.
According to social activist N Ramachandran, though a major portion of the paddy field identified for the project turned into fallow land over the years, a section of the farmers resumed farming activities on the proposed land. Recently, a farmer converted a large area of unused land into arable paddy field by clearing the wild weeds and shrubs.
As much as 90 per cent of the proposed land is paddy field, which retains large amounts of water during the monsoon season and post-monsoon. It plays a major role in recharging the wells and ponds in the area and maintaining the level of ground water table. Around eight years ago, the local residents had successfully resisted an attempt to take over nearly 350 acre of land, including the paddy field, by the INKEL.
The government seems to have taken the decision to acquire land for the KINFRA project without taking into consideration the public protests held in the past.
When the issue snowballed into a controversy, the KINFRA spokesperson told ‘Express’ that the industrial development zone would not be set up on arable land as it was KINFRA’s official policy not to use arable land for industrial projects.