Vayalkilikal, a collective of villagers at Keezhattoor here, burnt Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in effigy in protest against the plans to construct a bypass through the village.

Vayalkilikal leader Suresh Keezhattoor said the protests against the construction of the Keezhatoor bypass would continue. He added that the CPI(M) was taking a stand that betrayed the farmers’ struggles.

The protest comes against the backdrop of Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Vijayan inaugurating national highway development work.

Mr. Keezhattoor said the construction of the bypass needed to be stopped and Tuesday’s protest was just the beginning of agitations.

He said the detailed project report for the modernisation of the national highway from Kasaragod to Vengalam (Kozhikode) was prepared as per a contract awarded to AECOM in February 2016. Though the project was for a four-lane road, the NHAI issued tenders for a six-lane road.

He said that nod for construction was given without assessing the environmental impact. Also, the project had not yet received the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) approvals. He also questioned the contract issued for construction of the section from Neeleswaram to Taliparamba (up to the Kuttikol river) to Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd.

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