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
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