In a counter move to face the ongoing agitation of farmers against the acquisition of paddy land for the national highway at Keezhattur, the CPI(M) district committee took out a march in favour of the government’s decision to go ahead with the project.
The march, ‘Janajagratha Yatra’, led by district secretary P Jayarajan, sought to expose the alleged false propaganda unleashed by the outfit ‘Vayalkilikal’ (Paddy Birds), which is spearheading the stir.
The CPI(M) rejected the contention of the agitators and said the party march was against the attempt of the outfit to put hurdles on the path of development.
Addressing a press meet, Taliparamba MLA James Mathew also deplored the agitation and said the government cannot remain a mute spectator in the matter of development.
The agitators, comprising farmers and local people, alleged that the government proposal would destroy more than 200 acres of paddy field, leaving many people homeless and jobless at Keezhattur village and surrounding area.
It would also result in the destruction of wetland of the area, they said, adding that their fight is for the protection of environment and livelihood. The agitation has taken a political turn as most of the participants are former CPI(M) workers, who were expelled from the party after taking part in the stir.
Though the outfit ‘Vayalkilikal’ had been on a warpath for the past three months, the agitation came into focus after a group of persons, stated to be CPI(M) activists, set fire to a temporary shed of the protesters on March 14.
It was on the same day that a National Highway Authority of India team had arrived in the area for surveying. In a related development, the house of the ‘Vayalkili’ leader Suresh Keezhattoor was attacked by a group of unidentified persons on March 22.
Meanwhile, in a bid to overcome the stalemate over the land acquisition issue, PWD minister G Sudhakaran has written0 to the Centre, seeking the possibility of constructing a flyover in the area. The minister said the state had written to union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari in this regard.
The issue had also figured in the ongoing session of the state Assembly, where the Congress-led UDF opposition alleged that the CPI(M) government was trying to suppress the agitation of farmers.
However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had maintained that the government would not backtrack from the land acquisition for development purpose and termed the agitation as “anti-democratic and anti-development”.
The CM had also said that 56 of the total 60 landowners in Keezhattur had already given consent letters for the acquisition.moneycontrol