Moolampilly evictees mourn another anniversary of failed promise

It is 13 years since some families were evicted forcibly for the rail and road connectivity of the Vallarpadam terminal

In their sordid story spanning over the last 13 years, the families evicted, some of them forcibly, for the rail and road connectivity of the Vallarpadam International Transshipment Container Terminal, have unfailingly mourned anniversaries of many unfulfilled promises.

This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the revised Moolampilly rehabilitation package, which is far from being fully implemented.

So far, only 42 out of the 316 evicted families have moved into houses on the rehabilitation plots. Four out of seven of those plots are reclaimed land and found faulty by the Public Works Department. In fact, four houses on two such plots at Thuthiyoor, near Kakkanad, have either developed cracks or tilted to a side.

“Since eviction, 32 evictees have died without being rehabilitated. The government should appoint a dedicated officer with discretionary powers for rehabilitation, as entrusting the task with the same administrative machinery that carried out the eviction is inherently flawed. The government should help to strengthen the rehabilitation plots and arrange soft loans for constructions since the compensation granted over a decade ago is now woefully short,” said Francis Kalathunkal, general convener, Moolampilly Coordination Committee.

The newly sworn-in Revenue Minister K. Rajan said a stock-taking of the Moolampilly issue would be done on a priority basis shortly. “A commitment given to the people by the State should be honoured irrespective of the political formation in power,” he said.

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran, who has always aligned with the evictees, petitioned the Minister to chair a meeting to fast track the rehabilitation. “The injustice meted out to Moolampilly evictees is a blot on our democratic, political, and administrative systems. At a time when we are going ahead with major development projects, entailing displacement of thousands of people, questions will be raised about trusting a system that cannot even rehabilitate 316 families even after 13 years,” he said.

Mr. Sudheeran also flayed the inertia of the District Collector-chaired monitoring committee entrusted to review the progress of the rehabilitation.

Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheeshan said that the matter would be taken up in the Assembly.

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