Implementing the Kochi-Palakkad Investment and Manufacturing Zone that require 5200 hectares of land, will turn out to be the nemesis for paddy fields near the National Highway, pointed out the Kerala Paristhithi Aikyavedi in a letter to CM Oommen Chandy. The aikyavedi said that at least 90 percent of the proposed project area was paddy fields. Kerala has already lost 5,66,000 hectares of paddy fields since 1975. The annual rice requirement of the state is 40 lakh tonnes of which not even 5 lakh tonnes are being produced in Kerala. ‘’Of the fallow land, at least one lakh acres have been taken over by Kusdumbasree units and used for cultivation. This initiative can be extended to all the fallow land and therefore further filling up of paddy fields will be a folly,’’ the aikyavedi said in the letter.
Apart from the Kochi-Palakkad industrial zone, the proposed petrochemical industries to come up at Ambalamugal would require 10,000 acres of land. This area too would either be paddy-lands or wetlands. Moreover, the electronic hub planned to be set up at Amaballur near Thrissur would require 334 acres which also would be paddy-field area. The Aranmula airport proposal was rejected outright by the Green activists led by Sugathakumari, M K Prasad, Dr V S Vijayan and R V G Menon. The aikyavedi termed the project to establish a 100-acre golf course in the forest land of Wagamon as ‘’shameful’’. Similarly unjust are the Ayurveda Centre, forest lodge and botanical garden to come up in 25 acres at Nelliampathy. The tourism project proposed for Dharmadam island will destroy the island, they pointed out. Many projects have exaggerated the need for land, the aikyavedi said. They cited the example of Cheemeni project, the requirement of which was only 200 acres. Yet, the land requirement has been declared as 1621 acres without any mention about land availability.
This is purely aimed at helping the real estate dealers, they said. None of the projects have been evaluated for their impact on the environment. While the committees to study this have also been appointed by the government, opposition to government policy cannot be expected, they pointed out.
In the letter to the CM, Kerala Paristhithi Aikyavedi prioritised the state’s needs as waste management, revival of agriculture sector, encouraging alternative energy sources such as solar energy and revival of water resources. They said projects being showcased under Emerging Kerala does not in anyway reflect the people’s