Greens see red in mangrove park

Business of politics


 The upcoming theme park is the latest commercial initiative of the party which is hardselling its politics among youths through business ventures that have reportedly crossed Rs 4,000 crore. 

The Mangrove Theme Park being set up on the Valapattanam river bank in Pappinissery panchayat of Kannur district was inaugurated by film star Suresh Gopi last week. The estimated cost of the project scheduled to be completed in five years is Rs 5 crore with the Rs one-crore first phase already completed. “The park will have various facilities like water sports, lodging facilities, a health club and indigenous medicine centre. This project is being launched by people who want to protect mangrove forests and generate income for the local community by utilising its tourism potential,’’ claims Unnikrishnan representing the promoters, Pappinisery Eco-Tourism Society. He said that various varieties of mangroves will also be showcased.

 However, environmentalists and rival political parties are not at all amused. Their fear is that it will be an outright commercial venture like television channels, malls, hospitals, banks, hotels and amusement park owned by CPM-backed societies. The Kannur District Environmental Society (DES) claims that the mangroves are being encroached upon and all laws flouted with the help of the CPM-controlled panchayat. They point out that several acres of mangroves which dot the Valappattanam coast are the fruits of labour which lasted several decades. “Now, the CPM is trying to encash the noble intentions of people who raised the mangroves,” said DES office-bearer Hari. 

 A group of environmentalists under the banner of DES also organised a hunger strike against the project just hours before the launch function. They alleged that there was “large-scale destruction of mangroves” for the leisure centre. As expected, the protesters were beaten up allegedly by CPM workers and despatched in buses.

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