Land Mafia’s latest effort- discredit Aranmula agitation

published on May 11, 2013

At a time when the Aranmula airport project faces a bleak future of uncertainty, there is simmering public anger against efforts by a section of political leaders to unleash a counter-propaganda against the agitators in an effort to demolish their credibility , reports from Aranmula suggest.

The latest development in this direction is the demand made by P Mohanraj, the District Congress Committee president who called for a probe into the financial support to the mass agitation, which he said is sponsored by some business group.

Reacting to the statement, P R Shaji of Paithruka Grama Karma Samithy and P Induchoodan of Palliyoda Pallivilakku Samrakshana Samithy said that they are open for any probe regarding the allegation.”It is a mass movement and people are the support,” they said, adding that Mohanraj, being the DCC president can exert his influence on the government and order a probe by any investigative agency of his choice. Instead of making such wild allegations, he should immediately do that,” they said.

Meanwhile, a statement by Dr. D Babu Paul, former Chief Secretary, ridiculing Pongala and Bhoomivandanam , recently organized in Aranmula on Earth Day, as part of the agitation against the Land Mafia, has also invited flak.

In a hard-hitting statement, Vijayamma R Pillai, president of the Shakthi Vahini, pointed out that Babu Paul was a regular visitor to Aranmula when French lady Lauba Shiled was running a cultural center in the village. “He had then said more than once that Aranmula heritage is a glorious tradition and need to be protected at any cost. “ Why has he changed his stand now?” asked Vijayamma. Obviously he is trying to please the KGS group, she added.

As reported in these pages, during the last couple of years, KGS group which is behind the airport project, is widely believed to have spent crores of rupees in order to create a positive public mood and opinion for the project. This is in addition to the money they have allegedly spent in the corridors of power both in Thiruvananthapuram and New Delhi to get necessary sanctions and approval in record time.

However, despite all their best efforts, the project has run into troubled waters for violating existing laws in land acquisition and circumventing existing norms for sanctioning an airport in the country. While they are yet to get approval from the Union environmental Ministry, reports by Parliamentary committee headed by Sitaram Yechury and an Assembly committee of MLAs have both gone against the airport.

Despite the setback, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has declared that the government will go ahead with the project and this has obviously given the required momentum for the Company to go on the offensive. From recent developments, it seems that the pro-airport lobby, nurtured by the Company, which is getting increasingly desperate, is using all means to discredit mass leaders who are in the forefront of agitation.

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