THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The turnaround by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in the Aranmula airport project issue has been a morale boosting development for the Aranmula Paithruka Grama Samithi which is in the forefront of the agitation against the proposed private airport.
But it was the RSS national leadership’s strong warning against the Union Government which led to MoEF’s volte-face, according to sources in the Sangh Parivar. When the MoEF decided to give permission on a fresh petition seeking environment impact study for the airport project, the Sangh Parivar leadership in the state felt hurt over the neglect of its sentiments. Moreover, there has been a strong feeling that the state BJP leadership was not earnest in its opposition to the project. Against this backdrop, the state RSS leadership strongly conveyed its displeasure to the Central Government and the BJP national leadership.
Following this, RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi told Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar that it could not tolerate the government ignoring its strong sentiment against the proposed project.
Moreover, the BJP national leadership also was rebuked for taking the Sangh’s directives lightly. Confirming that the RSS leadership’s intervention at the right moment became the game-changer, Aranmula Paithruka Grama Samithi leader and Hindu Aikyavedi general secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said right from the beginning, the RSS had been giving all support to the agitation against the airport project.
‘’Without the support of the RSS, the agitation against the airport could not have been made a success. Other reports in favour of the airport are the handiwork of a section of the media close to the KGS Group,’’ he alleged.
Referring to the report of the expert committee granting permission to conduct an Environment Impact Study, he said that terms of reference had not been laid down while granting such a permission.
Moreover, the Minister also had confirmed in Parliament that no such permission was granted.
BJP state vice-president M T Ramesh told ‘Express’ that the BJP had given a commitment to the people that it would not allow the airport to happen. ‘’Besides the BJP, RSS leadership also had stepped up its pressure. Granting permission to conduct EIA study, doesn’t mean that it will be binding on the government to accept it. That is why Minister Prakash Javadekar made it clear that the Centre had not given any permission for the project,’’ Ramesh said.