Tuesday, 27 December 2011

No Christmas celebrations for Kerala’s dam-hit .

Lakhs of people in Kerala living in the shadow of danger posed by the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam will skip the Christmas celebrations. Activists of the anti-Mullaperiyar dam agitation council, whose stir for an end to the anxieties caused by the time-weakened dam would enter the sixth year on Sunday, will observe a fast as a mark of intensification of their agitation and protest against the political parties and their leaders who have not yet done anything convincing to alleviate the fears. The council represents over 3.5 lakh people living in the downstream areas of the reservoir between Mullaperiyar and Idukki and its leaders have been on a relay fast demanding an end to their anxieties since the Christmas of 2006. “You can’t celebrate when you are living in perpetual fear,” said Paul Mathew, an activist. Several leader are expected to join the council’s activists in their fast at Chappath, the first village to be washed away if the dam breaks, on the Christmas day, but Paul says that the council is not prepared to trust them anymore. “The parties joined the stir last month with much publicity. But they betrayed us by ending their stir at the first available opportunity,” he said. However, the hunger strikes will mark this year’s Christmas in the towns and villages in the 50-km stretch between Mullaperiyar and Idukki that might get obliterated if the old dam breaks. Reports indicate that a minimum of 50 centres on this stretch will witness fasts on the Christmas day apart from those in other parts of the State.

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