Paddy field, Airport decisions draw flak at KPCC panel meet
Differences of opinion surfaced at the KPCC-UDF Government coordination meeting here on Wednesday on the issue of the Aranmula airport, with senior leaders V M Sudheeran and K Muraleedharan underscoring that there was no need to develop an airport after destroying vast tracts of ecologically fragile paddy fields.
Both of them felt that development of already established airports would have been more appropriate. Sudheeran said that since a decision had been taken, the government should ensure that at least 26 per cent shares of the private sector airport project should be vested with the State Government. The dilly-dallying of the State Government on the move to handover Central Government-backed schools in minority communities dominated areas to aided school managements also attracted flak from the duo.
Sudheeran also demanded withdrawal of a controversial Cabinet decision on the regularisation of converted paddy fields into land. He told mediapersons that even when it was heartening that the government had decided to go in for a comprehensive land policy in the state and bring out an ordinance as a prelude to a fool-proof land policy, the plea for withdrawing the Cabinet decision on regularising land conversions was not heeded.
He also said that he had urged the government not to go ahead with the PPP project for sand mining at Arattupuzha in Alappuzha district, as indicated in the Emerging Kerala website. Despite the cracks in the committee, which was forced for a second sitting in three days after a gap of eight months, a consensus was arrived at to address the vexed issues of land and conservation of paddy fields.
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said that the crux of the decision was the recommendation to the UDF and the government to ensure that paddy fields would not be converted under any circumstances.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, committee members and former KPCC presidents Thennala Balakrishnan Pillai, C V Padmarajan, UDF convenor P P Thankachan and ministers Aryadan Mohammed and C N Balakrishnan attended the meet.