The voice to protect two-acre of ecologically-sensitive Santhivanam in Kottuvally panchayat near North Paravur is getting stronger even as the KSEB wants to move forward with its tower construction proceedings on the land.
As the CPI and CPIM, two major left parties in the Pinarayi-led government, stood on the opposite poles of the issue, Santhivanam is emerging as a political hot potato. Though some progressive leaders in CPIM such as Ernakulam Lok Sabha candidate Rajiv and all are trying to make an amicable settlement, the Santhivanam issue is getting bigger to deal with day by day.
The Santhivanam Samrakshana Samiti said it would resume legal fight in the Kerala High Court while going ahead with the protest against the Kerala State Electricity Board’s decision to set up a tower for its Mannam-Cherai 110-kV project through the middle of the green ecosystem.
“The KSEB should explain why it is insisting on having it through the heart of the land when it can be done by making a slight deviation,” asked Kusumam Joseph, environmentalist and convener of the Samiti.
Recalling that the commissioning of towers will take a heavy toll on the green lung of the rich and abundant ecosystem of Santhivanam, Ms. Joseph said the conspiracy behind the decision of the authorities not to take the alignment through an open land close to Santhivanam should be probed. “Neither KSEB nor the government or the district administration has been able to provide us with a satisfactory explanation on why it cannot be relocated,” she added.
The agitators wonder about the KSEB and the authorities’ decision to alter the height of the tower under the garb of protecting trees. A meeting convened by District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla had decided to increase the height of the tower by three metres from the earlier 19.4 metres to save the green cover.
Owner of 2-acre wide Santhivanam, which is an abode of biodiversity, Meena Menon said Santhivanam was home to several varieties of trees, animals, and birds. It is also a popular destination for migratory birds. The fight to protect the green space for future generations will continue, she added.