December 17th, 2011
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Aranmula airport: People’s protest intensifies


Aranmula paddy fields where the proposed private international airport is to be built

Aranmula: Major protest broke out once again near Aranmula which failed to gather much media attention. More than 500 people consisting mainly of women took out a march holding placards and raising slogans, protesting against the proposed private airport project in Aranmula today. The protestors are against the setting up of a private airport at Aranmula in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. They have made it clear that they are not against development but they have demanded are more transparency in the execution of the project, especially in land transaction deals.

The local people opposed the government decision notifying 500 acres of land spread across the three villages of Aranmula, Mallappuzhassery and Kidanganuur as industrial area in February. They believe that there is some foul play. The protestors have been accusing the promoters of this Green Field project of illegally grabbing land from the villagers. The protesters staged the march to the office of the company in village headquarters of Aranmula in the forenoon.

The protest began more than a week back. The promoters of the Green Field Project – the Chennai based KGS Group, have acquired 350 acres and are looking for some more. The protesters are demanding that the government cancel the notification in the larger interests of protecting hundreds of villagers.

On December 10, 2011 the All-Kerala River and Wetland Protection Council (KRWPC) sought CBI probe into the alleged land scam in Aranmula. KRWPC leaders and environmentalists KA Varghese and VN Gopinatha Pillai alleged that the promoters of the proposed airport project had inter-State connections.

According to them, a letter issued by the Aranmula village officer as per RTI Act on November 28 had categorically stated that the company did not possess any piece of land in the village. This RTI disclosure disproves the company’s claim of owning 350 acres of land in Aranmula. Mr Varghese alleged that the former MLA KC Rajagopalan had misled the former Chief Minister Mr Achuthanandan into taking a government decision in favour of the company.

“The Industries Department had notified 500 acres of land spread across the three villages of Aranmula, Mallappuzhasserry and Kidangannur as industrial area in February. The people’s representatives had adopted a treacherous stand by keeping the local people in the dark about the decision taken by the Industries Department as well as various basic clearance problems concerning the proposed airport project,” KRWPC alleged.

The council leaders had also demanded expressed concern over the conversion of the biodiversity rich Aranmula paddy fields into airport land.

3 Responses to “ Aranmula airport: People’s protest intensifies ”

  1. Simon

    There is absolutely no need for an airport in Aranmula and Kidangannur for there are two, one in Nedumpassery and the other in Thiruvananthapuram. The one in Thiruvananthapuram needs updating. Let the KGS Group takeover that. The Air India is running in debt of crores and crores of rupees. Why not sort out such huge problems of the existing airport before venturing into another one and that too in Manakuppi Aranmula. What we need is not acqusition of land and eviction of people from their homes and lands but redistribution of land and settling of land so that people may get on with their lives and livelihood. Let us not follow the American model where 90 million of the native Americans were slaughtered to create the modern America and the best of the African population is brought as slaves to build their modern America. I hope good sense will prevail and the rulers will rule for people and not against the people. The govt will be of the people and for the people and will not act as the new colonial masters.

  2. Sudha Nair

    Those who are in favour of setting up airport in Aranmula, give lame excuses that it will promote tourism in Kerala..i feel the real consequences of such an act will in fact lead to the deterioration of the environment there and in fact lead to ultimate loses in the field of so called tourism that the promoters are are claiming that this airport project will encourage. By train, aramula is only some hours away from thiruvananthapuram…so why all this hassle to make an airport here. Instead of promoting such an act..government needs to oppose such companies whose sole intention is to mint money from the land they’ll get after the fellow villagers evicted. Aranmula is a village that had been declared as a heritage village by Indian National Trust for Art and Culture heritage..and this only emphasises on the fact that aranmula attracts tourist from all over the world because of its villages and the way it has been maintained..if this village is able to attract 21% of foreign tourist ..without having an airport..this in itself shows that there is no need for such a project . Moreover, as the government has declared it as an industrial area..and this would mean that people will be evicted from here…where do they plans to relocate them. This project would benefit only those money minded companies and the corrupt politicians who misuse their power to meet their selfish needs. No good will come out of such an act which would in fact reap only losses for the villagers.

  3. Kumar

    KGS company itself is a big fraud. There is no such company in Chennai.
    Achuthananthan is not saint either to be misled by an MLA.


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