Aranmula – use our might to preserve our culture.

published on January 31, 2013
One of the emerging news items that prompts Kerala now a days is the Governments move to attract investments and its consequences. The recent “Emerging Kerala” that was conducted in Kochi had some projects which we need to understand as young minds. As young professionals we always curse Kerala for not being investor friendly and being anti-reformist. We always dream of working within Kerala and staying at home. Millions of Malayalees travel and stay abroad for their livelihood. The communists and the so called liberal Congress couldn’t control the flow of resources and great minds outside the state for the lack of creation of opportunities within it. This has led Malayalees flee their homeland-In a way being ‘job refugees’

One of the biggest donors of these ‘Non Resident Keralites’ are from Districts like Pathanamthitta. So an airport in its vicinity is an exciting thought. The nearest airports of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram fall 120 kms atleast by road each. This is the main factor spelled by PJ Kurien (Rajya Sabha dpty Chairman).In his ‘gyan’ session, he convinces us that the pollution caused by vehicles that are used to and fro these airports cause a lot of pollution and an airport is a solution to it. How many cars escort him during his visits to Kerala these days? Don’t they cause any pollution? I am afraid he was too silly to make this argument.

The Central Defense ministry has certain criteria when they give permissions to airports. The air distance between nearest airports is the most important. Aranmula doesn’t satisfy that condition and therefore Minister A.K .Antony said that we cannot give permission for this. This is also the flying path of Indian Naval Aircrafts. However, just few days down the line, the ministry of environment gave clearance to use Paddy fields for its construction. This is strange, isn’t it? The company had submitted false affidavit saying that the land selected for the project was neither paddy field nor water body. This was nothing but a false argument.

The airport company KGS group received the clearance from various departments by submitting forged documents. The information obtained under RTI Act shows that they had not received any exemption under the Wetland Conservation Act or Land Ceiling Act. The state Congress government meanwhile is playing its part to defend their central leadership. The daughter of the Chief Minister is part of the consulting organization which gave supporting documents for this project. Meanwhile the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority’s report has not been submitted so far.

The District Collector had cancelled the mutation of 242 acres of land as it was surplus land. As per the Land Reforms Act of 1970, the company has the right to possess only 15 acres. The government has also been abetting the crime by claiming the reclaimed water body and converting it as government’s share, instead of initiating criminal proceedings for encroachment and reclamation of the water body. Aerotroplolis plan of the KGS group and its promoters are quite suspicious. We should also look at the funding received for this project. There are also allegations of the dubious intentions of this Chennai group and their credentials. The mere interest of Congress high command in this project magnifies this claim.

In a press conference dated 22nd December 2012 ,the KGS group declared that they are starting the construction. The Hindu reported the news as below:

“The airport will be set up on 500 acres, out of which, only a very small extent will be filled-up paddy fields, which will be utilized for laying the runway and allied facilities,” said P T Nandakumar, executive director of the project.

“The runway will be 3,100 x 45 m and is designed to cater to Airbus A-320/Boeing 747 aircrafts. The terminal building is designed to handle 1,000 passengers at a time,” he said

This is quite surprising that these kinds of lies are being propagated by the CEO of a reputed company. This press conference was conducted on the eve of two standing committee members of the Indian Parliament were visiting the Aranmula site.

An Aerotropolis plan will at least require 3000 acres and where is this land going to come from? The beautiful land, the river and above all the adobe of Lord Partha Sarathy -his enchanting Temple is all going to be under threat.

It’s a strange idea to object to development in this new world of globalization. Unfortunately it needs enormous amount of understanding why some of the projects destroy the core essence of the development of human indices. Aranmula airport is such a project. Aranmula is a Hindu heritage village. It has the most beautiful and magnificent of Hindu symbols like the Aranmula Parthasarathy temple, the Aranmula Mirror, the Vasthu Vidya School, the Vigyana Kala Vedi, the Palliyodams (Holy Snake Boats),the Aranmula Sadya(a grand feast)and abundant natural resources including Kaavus’(Snake adobes) and many strips of water conservatives that predominantly populate the glory of the holy river of Pamba.

The Aranmula mirror, which is world famous, is made out of molds which use mud from these paddy fields. Destroying these fields means the end of the Aranmula mirror .This project will kill many streams that lead to river Pamba. There are many Palliyodams that use these streams to reach the river for the boat race and other traditional rituals. Therefore killing these streams means the end of many traditions. An airport will always need widening of roads, this means that the roads will take away a lot of temple land. There are traditions like “Nira Puthari”,which uses rice petals that is cultivated in these paddy fields. This will end.The main run way proposed by the KGS group has a beautiful Snake temple (Kaavu). This Kaavu will be destroyed forever.

Let me tell my Hindu brethren across the Kerala state and across the Country that a Hindu Heritage village declared by the UN is under a big threat eclipsed by the other religious groups led UDF government. It is natural that they won’t have any interest in saving Hindu traditions.

This project has links with money pumped from many sources that are linked to the main party ruling the country which is completely immersed in corruption charges. This is a project just aimed at disposing illegal money. The land has been grabbed illegally and the project permissions are void.There are already 4 international airports in the small state of Kerala while bigger states like Gujrath has just 1.Are we being too progressive in this while our Industrial growth trends negative?

I would urge the youth to have a look into this and use the social media to create awareness among the people to gain momentum to oppose this move of the Government to start the construction of this project.

Please take a small part of your time in finding a couple of things:

1) Has the concerned departments of the central govt given approvals for this airport?

2) Has the land required for this project yearned legally?

3) How this project will affect our traditions in Aranmula. What will be consequence on our heritage?

The tremendous efforts of Kummanam Rajasekharan, Patron of Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council led Mrs.Sushma Swaraj, the leader of opposition in the Indian parliament show her support in objecting to this project. She sent two MPs’ who are standing committee members -one from Defense standing committee and the other form the Parliament Standing Committee on Environment and Forests. These MPs’ , Rakesh Singh and Uday Singh told me that when they were in the Airport an Industrialist approached them and tried to woo them. However the strong leadership of the BJP has decided to take this on.

I hope the ‘Green MLA’s’ of the Congress will ridicule this project. Green Initiatives that they have taken up across the State is with no doubt in the welfare of the state. In relation to this context I want to make an appeal to them to have a look at the Aranmula Airport issue. I belong to this place and thousands of Hindu people are hurt by the fact that the Congress party and some of its leaders are doing injustice to our age old traditions and to the holy Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. A village even identified by the UN as heritage is going to be destroyed by the group of vested interests. The illegality in which the land is acquired and the unethical ways in which approvals were given by many central and state departments have been questioned. This will anyway be questioned in courts and the chance of survival of this project is slim. The source of funding by KJS is being studied by different groups and it is going to be a discussion in Parliament soon. I urge them to use this opportunity to come forward and be a different voice and take up the issue if they feel it is constitutional to do so. The Assembly committee led by Congress MLA C.P. Mohammed had come to the conclusion that the project would bring about disastrous environmental impact in the region after obtaining statements from various sources. Leaders like V.S.Achuthanandan (CPIM) ,Mullakara Rathnakaran(CPI), O. Rajagopal (BJP) and environmentalists’ like Vandana Shiva and Sugatha Kumari teacher are all in the forefront fighting against this project

There are other sites where this airport can be a reality, which is out of this village but within the Pathanamthitta district. They can even think of the acres of land available in places like Konni.If this airport is really beneficial to Aiyappa devotees who reach Pathanamthitta district why can’t they have it in Nilakkal or Lahai which is so close to Shabarimala?

I hope people will stand together to object this illegal activity and get the airport out of the most fertile and cultural capital of Central Kerala, Aranmula. This airport is a threat to an entire civilisation of thousands of years. Let us widen this agitation to maximum sections of the society and force the government to cancel all permissions for this project.

Stop hate move against Hindu Heritage Village!

Sri Krishna Jayam,
Jaypanicker.

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