Kerala Government On Backfoot As Cops, Protesters Clash Over National Highway Expansion

Locals say they are worried about 32 families being displaced with their houses falling on the land meant to be acquired for the proposed 50-metre expansion.

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Kerala Government On Backfoot As Cops, Protesters Clash Over National Highway Expansion

Protesters threw stones at the police, who responded with lathicharge


Thiruvananthapuram:  Kerala's CPM-led government is on the backfoot after massive protests by locals in Malappuram city against the survey being undertaken for acquisition of land for the expansion of National Highway 66.

For two hours today, protesters threw stones at the police, who responded with lathicharge. The protesters, in retaliation, burnt tyres and blocked the road for an hour.

Locals say they are worried about 32 families being displaced with their houses falling on the land meant to be acquired for the proposed 50-metre expansion. 

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed the state government saying, "this is not a police state that Pinarayi Vijayan is ruling. He should understand the need to have discussion and include people in his decisions. Despite promising an all-party meeting on this issue, the government has not moved in that direction."

This violence comes just days after the state government on March 27 agreed to an all-party meeting to find a solution to the ongoing protests in Malappuram. 

Public Works Department Minister G Sudhakaran had said in the Assembly that the government does not want to displace mosques, temples, or any places of worship for the expansion of National Highway but would ensure best possible compensation to affected people. 

Last month, CPM supporters had set on fire the tents of protesters, who were against the acquisition of paddy fields for the expansion of National Highway in Kannur.


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