Thiruvananthapuram: A group of cultural, political and religious leaders has asked the Prime Minister to intervene to stop the State Government from building an airport at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta, which they claimed would cause ecological problems in the region.
The members submitted a petition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which stated that the project violated several State and Central laws related to land and environmental protection, including the Environment Protection Act, the Kerala Land Reforms Act, the Kerala Land Conservancy Act and the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and Wetland Act.
It also questioned the need for a new airport at an aerial distance of 95 km from the Kochi International airport and 93 km from the Thiruvananthapuram airport project.
The petition said the potential of these two airports was yet to be fully tapped and a new airport was “unnecessary and unscientific”.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture had also raised objections to the proposal in its report in May.
The project, encompassing hotels, shopping malls and residential complexes, would change the face of the Aranmula region, which should be conserved as a heritage village, it said.
The proposed airport would require wetlands, paddy fields, flood plains of the Pampa river and levelling of neighbouring hillocks. An entire eco-system comprising a natural age-old hydrological system would be destroyed, it said.
The project, causing grave harm to nature, would amount to trampling upon the rights of the local people, the petition said, adding that there were no moral, scientific or legal grounds to set up the project.
The petitioners requested the Prime Minister to deny environmental clearance for the project and instruct the State Government not to proceed with it.
Archbishop Soosapakiam, Jnanpith laureate O. N. V. Kurup, poet Sugathakumari, film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and leaders of all political parties are among signatories to the petition.
A dharna was held here last evening to press for the demand. Former diplomat K. P. S. Menon, Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan, CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, C. Divakaran (CPI), O. Rajagopal, V Muraleedharan (BJP), V. M. Sudheeran, V. D. Satheesan (Cong), N. K. Premachandran (RSP) and other social and cultural leaders participated in the dharna.