March 2018
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Kerala News
Will go ahead with paddy field acquisition: Pinarayi Vijayan
(Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 20, 2018): Kerala government today said it would go ahead with the acquisition of paddy land for a proposed national highway at Keezhattur in Kannur district and termed the ongoing public agitation against it there as 'anti-democratic'.

Of the total 60 land owners, 56 persons had already given their consent letters for the acquisition, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the assembly while the opposition Congress-led UDF raised the issue in the House.

Stating that the Left Democratic Front government would protect the interests of farmers, he said the infrastructure development also could not be overlooked.

Vijayan appealed to the opposition to set aside political differences in the matter as national highway is integral for the development.

Admitting that that some local CPI(M) activists and sympathisers were taking part in the protest, Vijayan said that it would not deter the government from going ahead with the development programmes.

"There is a huge increase in the vehicular traffic much more than the carrying capacity. The area is choked due to frequent traffic snarls. The government will not heed before unwanted protests," the Chief Minister said.

Even the protesters could not point out any other option for the national highway project than the present one, he said.

Slamming the protesters, PWD minister G Sudhakaran said the outfit 'Vayalkkilikal' (Paddy Birds) which has been spearheading the agitation at Keezhattur for the past few days, were actually 'vayal kazhukanmar' (vultures hovering over the paddy field).

While replying to a notice for the adjournment motion, he also said the previous UDF government had fixed the alignment and planned the detailed project report for the national highway and the LDF government was trying to implement it with some slight changes.

"The ongoing agitation is not only anti-democratic but also anti-developmental and unethical," he said, adding, that some "fascist forces" from outside were staging protests there.

The Left government was committed to go ahead with development initiatives, he said.

The minister also dismissed the opposition's comparison of the recent police action in Keezhattur with those in Nandigram in West Bengal.

Seeking a notice for the motion, V D Satheesan (Cong) alleged that the LDF government did not meet any procedural requirements, including conducting of the social impact study under the Right to Fair Compensation Act.

The UDF was not against development but the anxiety of local people should be addressed, he said.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said they were against the LDF government's attitude to suppress people's agitations using police.

"It is not right to suppress the dissenting voices. The CPI(M) adopts a fascist approach towards agitations while in power," he said, adding, that "it is fascism and intolerance." He also wanted the government to hold discussions with the agitators and settle the differences.

The opposition later staged a walkout as the Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan disallowed the motion.(PTI)

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