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New Delhi, March 24 : Keezhattoor Vayalakilikal’s Struggle has been going for more than a year now to protect their Paddy fields and precious drinking water, in a state where fertile land is fast declining due to rapid urbanization and infrastructure development. They have been protesting acquisition of fertile paddy fields for National Highway 66. The struggle has remained peaceful and non-violent even in face of violent attack by ruling party cadres and state repression. National Alliance of People’s Movements stands in solidarity with their struggle and endorses their demand to change the alignment of the highway to save the precious ecosystem.

The movement has even proposed alternative alignment for the highway prepared by Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad to avoid environmental destruction, but the Union Surface Transport Ministry led by Shri Nitin Gadkari has refused to heed to this. It is unfortunate that Kerala government is also siding with the Union government on this issue and is not siding with the movement to press for change of the alignment. We urge that the government of Kerala pressurize the Union government and get NHAI to change the alignment to save the fields and drinking water sources.

Kerala had an estimated 9 lakh hectares of land for paddy cultivation 40 years ago and today it has come to 1.75 lakh hectares, where as the population has increased several fold now. It was due to the persistent demand and agitation of agricultural labourers and environmentalists that the Kerala Government passed an Act for the protection of paddy fields and wetlands in 2008. However, till date required rules have not been framed, because of lack of political will. This has led to complete non-compliance with various provisions. On the other hand, government has bought in an ordinance and relaxed the provisions for filling up paddy fields, to facilitate so called ‘development projects’. We strongly feel that these incidents give a clear indication of the growing corporate development attitude of the Kerala government in developmental projects.

We demand the government of Kerala listens to the demands of the movement and hold dialogue with the people of Keezhattoor to find an amicable solution for the issues raised by the Vayalkilikal and the affected people of Keezhattoor.

We also urge Union Transport Minister to take appropriate action and save the precious ecosystem and not destroy it when other options are available for the same.

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, NAPM

Vilayodi Venugopal, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, Sharath Chelloor, John Peruvanthanam, V D Majeendran, Purushan Eloor, Suresh George, NAPM, Kerala

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM Odisha

Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh VyavasayaVruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM Telangana – Andhra Pradesh

Dr Binayak Sen, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha; KaladasDahariya, RELAA, NAPM Chhattisgarh

Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party; Richa Singh, Sangatin; Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, Suresh Rathor, Mahendra, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; Arul Doss, NAPM Tamilnadu

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Karnataka

Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, NAPM Gujarat

Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti; Basant Kumar Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand

Samar Bagchi, Amitava Mitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, & Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai NAPM Maharashtra

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), NAPM

Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar; J S Walia, NAPM Haryana

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch; Sister Dorothy, Ujjawal Chaubey, NAPM Bihar

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini; Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers Union; Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

For details contact : 9818905316 | email : napmindia@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Nitin Gadkari – please put a stop to this menace of littering India with automobiles. And pay heed to gross nature produce. Lets go by trains they are running empty! Lets transport goods by existing railways. Stop damaging river flow and its ecology for river transport. Go have a fundamental course in the Gita. Despite decades of masterly docterly engineering,the energy produced by 80 percent of the fuel in the average automobile is wasted as pollution. 95% of the remaining useful energy output is used to move an unnecessarily heavily vehicle. Only five percent actually moves the passenger.The brownish tinge over our skies over highways across metropolises is due to nitrogen oxide, a highly reactive organic gas that irritates the lungs(remember Dharavi?) and causes bronchitisand pneumonia, It can also aggravate respiratory disease and lower resistance to respiratory infections.NOx helps form ozone which is highly dangerous exposure on highways.Ozone acts like acid on the lungs, causing and aggravating asthma. It also causes other respiratory ailments and impairs lung function,harms the immune system, aggravates heart disease and emphysema, and can cause fetal heart malfunctions. When we have friends like highway 66, we do we need human murderers?