KOCHI: Residents of Panambukad on Vallarpadam island under Mulavukad panchayat are resisting the move to fill wetlands after destroying mangroves. Over 3,000 families of fishers and farmers inhabit Panambukad situated in Vembanad lake. P.K. Vimal Kumar, CPM Vallarpadam local committee secretary, said unscrupulous elements taken the shape of a mafia are indulging in a large scale filling of the wetlands and cutting down of mangroves.
“They fell the mangroves saying that they wanted to do fish farming and use the mud from the backwaters and other parts to fill the paddy fields. Though we petitioned the village office, no action came. Anyway, the agitation seems to have some effect halting it temporarily,” Mr Kumar said. He said that the permission of the authorities to fill five cents of land for housing purposes was also being misused. “Congress leader C. D. Desikan is among others who lead these activities in the land owned by him near Panambukad bus stop. Goons are also being used. These activities have been reported to the District Forest Officer. If the destruction goes on at this level then the fate of Munroe islands in Kollam will visit Panambukad and Mulavukad,” he said.
He said the Mulavukad panchayat was putting up a board warning destructors of mangroves. “Mangroves are oxygen parlours, and they protect us from the tsunami. So there have to be concerted efforts from all quarters against wetland filling and mangrove destruction,” he said.