The State Government’s decision to regularise converted paddy fields and wetlands will encourage the land mafia to continue filling up land illegally, said social activist Medha Patkar.
Speaking at ‘Sujeevitha Sangamam’, a programme organised by Nature Life International (NLI) at Champakkara, on Friday, she said,
“The governments in Kerala have always encouraged the land mafia which has led to an ecological imbalance in the state. To preserve the agrarian culture of the state, people should vehemently protest against it,” she said.
She recollected that the course of Periyar has changed a lot in the past ten years. “The river which was once a reservoir of water supply is no longer able to provide sufficient water to the whole of Kochi alone.
Making things worse, industrial pollution has contaminated the water, endangering the aquatic system,” she cautioned. Patkar added that illegal sand mining should also be curbed at the earliest.
She pointed out that the farmers and fisher folks are the most neglected groups when it comes to development.
Though we are depending on them indirectly for our day-to-day life, they are being ignored. Development should start at the grassroots level,” she said.
Referring to the commercialisation of the health sector she said, “They are not curers but killers.”
“Commercial industries have labelled our traditional curing systems like Ayurveda and Homoeopathy as secondary in order to project Allopathy as a better system.
“They are looting money from patients by providing costly medicines which, in most cases, lead to other illnesses” she added.
Recollecting the contribution of Sukumar Azhikode towards environmental conservation in the state, Patkar noted that he was an inseparable part of protests against environmental issues.
Senior journalist Leela Menon released ‘Arogyam-Rogam-Chikilsa’, a book on health, illness and treatment, authored by Jacob Vadakancherry, at the function. Medha Patkar presented the Annie Poulose memorial award for the best environmentalist to Usha Nair, a native of Paripilly.