One of the early decisions of Kerala’s first democratically elected Communist government in 1957 was to invite the Birla Group to set up the Gwalior Region on the banks of the Chaliyar River at Mavoor in Kozhikode district.
The rayon pulp factory completely shut down in 2001 after years of agitation against the discharge of untreated effluents into the river. The Mavoor gram panchayat is now planning an agitation, demanding that Grasim Industries return over 300 acres of prime land, on which the factory is located, to the state government.
Mavoor gram panchayat president and local people’s action committee T. Ranjith told the media on Wednesday that the first communist government had taken land from local residents on the condition that it would be returned if it was not used for industrial purposes. Will be done. , He said this condition was applicable on 250 acres out of 350 acres of land under the control of the company. “In the last 22 years, the land has turned into a semi-forest with wild animals. Wild boar, snakes, foxes and stray dogs are roaming everywhere and destroying the crops. It becomes difficult to travel on the road adjacent to the factory at night.
Other panchayat members said that whenever there is a demand from the people to take back the land, the factory management comes up with fresh proposals to set up new projects there. However, nothing had happened so far. He claimed that the company also managed to get a stay from the Kerala High Court against the government’s acquisition of the land. “Earlier, people had demanded that Grasim Industries should set up some new projects there. Now we want them to leave Mavoor and return the land to the government. When the panchayat is not getting land for the people to set up new projects, such a huge tract of land is lying unused at a prime location,” said Mr. Ranjit.
Now, a public meeting has been planned on May 26 in Mavoor to discuss the future course of action. Panchayat officials said that the decision on whether to be made a party or not in the case going on in the High Court will be taken there itself.
Meanwhile, Left parties like CPI(M) and CPI have reportedly decided to stay away from the event. The panchayat is ruled by a coalition of the United Democratic Front and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India.