Land for Malayalam University comes under the scanner

The Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University in Kerala has once again come under the scanner with the National Green Tribunal seeking a report on environmental violations, if any, with respect to the land identified for the University at Vettom Village in Thiroor.

A committee has been constituted in this regard for looking into if any environmental violation has been done with respect to the ongoing construction in the said land. The committee has also been asked to look into the impact of the said construction on environment and also the damages that are likely to be caused if the project continued.

Senior officer from the Kerala State Wetland Authority, Principal Conservator of Forest, Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority, senior representative from the Ministry of Environment, District Collector, National Coastal Zone management Authority and State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority are the members of the committee.

The committee has been entrusted to see if necessary clearances have been obtained from authorities concerned. The SPCB has been made the Nodal agency for coordinating the committee.

The NGT gave the direction last month on a petition that challenged the land acquisition and also the construction activities in the said land at Vettom Village. In petition, it has been said that 14.86 acres out of 17.21 lands has been acquired and that it would have adverse effect on the eco system as about three acres of fragile and mangrove land would be converted. The petitioner points out that the land would be converted for constructing buildings and the dumping of soil for raising the ground for any construction would alter the landscape of the region, which could have long term effects.

The petitioner also alleged that the authorities were going ahead with the project without getting any environment clearance. It has also been alleged that no Environmental Impact Assessment has been done.

The issues related to land with respect to Malayalam University has been under controversy for a long time. The Opposition had earlier alleged severe allegations against the CPM with respect to acquiring land for the university. It was alleged that the land was acquired for a higher price than the fair value. They had also alleged that the land was not suitable for construction activities as about six acres of land came under the wetland category that had mangroves. And the rest of the land was said to be paddy field.

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