Good Governance, Transparency & Decentralisation

Press release                                                                                   07.08.2011


Vizhinjam: Santhigram, a community based voluntary development organization engaged in holistic community development activities, in the backward Villages of Thiruvananthapuram District, celebrates the silver jubilee this year. The year-long celebration will commence on 15th August 2011.

Santhigram is the first NGO to have voluntarily opted to be under the purview of RTI Act and has published a citizen’s charter.

Dr. Shasi Tharoor M.P will inaugurate the Silver Jubilee Celebration. Ms. Jameela Praksham, Kovalam M.L.A will preside over the function, Adv. K. Chandrika, worshipful Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation will inaugurate the Holistic Health Care Sub centre; Mr. Santiago, Regional Representative of Andheri Hilfe e.VBonnwill be the Chief Guest. Block & Grama Panchayath Presidents will be the guests of honour. Sri. G. Happy Kumar, Deputy Mayor, Sri Johnson Joseph, UDF leader and Sri. P. Ashok Kumar, BJP leader of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation will grace the occasion.

The inaugural session will be followed by a Seminar on the topic “Role of civil society in the LOKPAL Bill. Mr. Civic Chandran, prominent social activist will introduce the topic.

The programmes will be spread over in the Grama Panchayaths of Venganoor, Kottukal, Kanjiramkulam, Karumkulam and Poovar in the Athiyannoor and Parasala blocks of Thiruvananthapuram District. The Vizhinjam Zone of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation will also be covered. Programs are also planned in the district and state level on important current issues. An Organizing Committee has been formed for the successful conduct of the programmes.

The inauguration of the Silver Jubilee celebration will be held on August 15, 2011 at Vizhinjam (Zonal Office Building of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation) at 10.00 am. The function will be followed by a discussion on the role of civil society in the LOKPAL Bill.

L. Pankajakshan

Director, Santhigram

Chappath, Kazhuvur.P.O; Pulluvila-695 526,

Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Phone: 0471-2269780, 6452511 (M) 9287548234

E.mail:, Web:

Abstract Of Silver Jubilee Programs

  1. Inauguration & Seminar on The Role Of Civil Society In The Lokpal Bill (Vizhinjam) – 15 August 2011(10 Am-1pm)
  2. Membership Campaign
  3. Creation of Working Fund
  4. Setting Up of Library And Research Centre
  5. Research and Campaign on Holistic Health Care: Launching  Of  Hospital For Holistic Health, Propagation Of Grandmother’s/ Home Remedies
  6. Bhakshya Swaraj – Campaign on Food Security: Jack Fruit Festival, Organic Farming/Kitchen Gardening in 1000 Households
  7. Empowerment of Panchayath Raj Institutions and Social Action for Good Governance
  8. Formation of People’s Organization for Holistic Development: Leadership Training And Capacity Building
  9. Strengthening Of Jagaratha Samithies For Protection Of Rights And Security Of Women And Children

10. Skill Development For Employment Opportunities

11. Formation Of Small Entrepreneurs’ Groups

12. Get-Together Of Social Activists

13. Awareness Programs And Competitions For School Students And Youth

14. Setting Up Of Counseling & Guidance Centres

15. State Level Workshop On Exploring Opportunities For Govt – NGO                              Collaboration For Social Development

16. Strengthening Of Grass Root Voluntary Organizations

17. State Level Workshop On Public- Private- NGO Collaboration For                                 Sustainable Development Projects

18. Panchayat Level Workshops, Seminars On Current Social Issues

19.  StudyToursAnd Exposure Visits

20. Cultural Programs, Competitions

21. Publication Of Souvenir

22. Study, Research And Documentation Of Model/Replicable Activities In                   The Voluntary Sector

23. Information Collection Of People’s Knowledge/ Folklore Etc

24. Encouragement For Nurturing Native Breeds Of Cows

25. Valedictory Function – 15 August 2012

Press Release


Sri. Jairam Ramesh
Minister of State (Independent Charge)
Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of India

New Delhi – 110 003

Respected Sir,

Sub: Request for Environmental Impact Assessment of the land acquired for road, railway connectivity and warehouse for Vizhinjam Sea Port International limited as conceived by Govt. of Kerala

Watchdog Committee on Climate Change (WCCC) is a People’s Forum for conducting studies on climate change and ecological issues related to livelihood and protect on the environment. We, on behalf of the people of the area, request you to order a   thorough environmental impact assessment study and refrain the Government of Kerala from acquiring land which is source of life and livelihood of the people of this area for infrastructural development of Vizhinjam Sea Port.

Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd. is a major undertaking of the Government of Kerala. The project has attracted national and international interest. It also has given rise to serious concerns over its environmental impact by activists.

The Watchdog Committee sought details of the above project under the Right to Information Act (RTI) but the authorities have given only partial answers. Moreover,   certain important details have not been revealed. This is a cause for concern and anxiety for the local people.

From our study and assessment, the project will cause serious environmental destruction and livelihood as well as affect food security of the people.  Hence, we are appealing to you to look into this matter and request you to take appropriate action as soon as possible.

Main Issues and concerns

  1. The implementation of the project as presently conceived by the State Government will seriously endanger the drinking water sources of the people in the area. The project area mainly covers four Panchayats, namely, Vizhinjam (now Corporation area), Kottukal, Venganoor and Balaramapuram. The population of the surrounding area numbering around three lakhs depends on the water sources of this area particularly in Kottukal Panchayats. Currently Kottukal water bodies provide drinking water to residents of 9 Panchayats. The Special Land Acquisition authority appointed by the state has already started acquiring the water – rich lowlands of Kottukal. This was done without conducting environment impact study and we have raised this issue before the authorities. This however has failed to provide any answer to our concerns and demands.
  1. The local land owners are only too willing to give away their land in exchange for the high price offered by the Government (Rs.2-3 lakhs per cent now for land which had market price of Rs 30,000/- only prior to the announcement of the project).

The issues involve are

(i).     The land owners are not aware of the possible implications, because no                             EIA has been conducted;

(ii).    The landless people who form the majority will be deprived of their livelihood and the existing water source.

3.  There are only a few water sources remaining in the nearby Panchayats, such as the Gangayar Canal and Mulloor Canal in Vizhinjam and Chappath Canal in Kottukal. If the project gets implemented all these water sources also will wither away, with no water left for the people of this area.

In the light of the above facts therefore we appeal to you to take action to protect the water sources in the project area and ensure that the right of the people, particularly the poor and marginalized, the fisher folk, Dalits and their access to water and food is protected.

The Sea Port Authority has since replied to our query that EIA is being conduced by Chennai based L & T company. But please note that the special Thesildar has already acquired the land in this area and, without the EIA study, started construction activities in the disputed wetlands of Mulloor. This is a gross violation of human rights of the people of the area. This appears to be a fraud on the local people.

We therefore request that you initiate remedial action to protect the ecological wealth of the region.

4. We are not against development as such. Nor are we against the Vizhinjam International Sea Port Project. We only insist that development should not be at the cost of the  people – the poor and most needy.

We feel that it is possible to redesign the project without seriously ruining the local ecology. For instance, the warehouse now constructed in the wetland can be shifted to a less ecologically sensitive area such as on a hill. Instead of building new roads through the lowlands, the existing road can be widened or building new roads without affecting the ecologically sensitive lands. Only a thorough and detailed EIA can ensure the safety of the local ecology and livelihood of the locals.

In the light of the above, we appeal to you to order a detailed EIA by a competent agency, consisting of persons from multi-disciplinary, academic background, to protect the vital interests and basic human rights of the vulnerable sections of the local area.

With respectful regards

Mulloor Surendran,

Convener, Study team

Watchdog Committee on Climate Change,

C/o School of Ecology, Santhigram

Kazhuvur P.O; Pulluvila-695 526


Kerala(State), South India

Phone: 0471- 2269780, 6452511


Copy to:

1. The Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests,

Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003, INDIA

Telephone:+91-11-24360605,24360570, 24360519


2. The Chairman,

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Bhujal Bhawan,

NH-4, Faridabad, Haryana- 129 001

Tel: +91-129-2419106, Fax: 91-129-2412524

3. Dr. P.Nandakumar,

Regional Director(I/C), Central Ground water Board, Kerala Regional office

Kedaram Complex, Kesavadasapuram, Medical college P.O; Thiruvananthapuram – 695 011    Phone:0471-2442191 (M)9447600566

4. Dr.George Chackacherry

CWRDM, Sub Centre, Neyyattinkara  (M) 9446404780

5. Dr. P.N.Premachandran

Aditional Director, Soil Survey Department

Govt. of Kerala, Chalai. P.O; Thiruvananthapuram-695 036


Ph: 0471- 2466145(O), (M) 9847138143

6. Dr. M. Baba

P.B.No. 7250, Thuruvikkal P.O., Akkulam,

Thiruvananthapuram-695 031

7. Honorable Chairperson,

National Human Rights Commission,

Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi, PIN 110001


Tel.No. 23384012,Fax No. 23384863

8. The Chairman

Kerala State Biodiversity Board
Pallimukku, Pettah P. O. Thiruvananthapuram-695 024

Phone: 0471- 2740240

9. Justice N. Dhinakar

Honorable Chairperson

Kerala State Human Rights Commission,

M.P.Appan Road,Vazhuthacaud,


Fax: 0471-2337148