Keezhattur is an agrarian village in the Kannur district of Kerala with large paddy fields which are also wetlands. The state government wants to acquire land passing through the paddy fields of the village for constructing a road that will bypass Taliparamba town as a part of a fourlane highway for NH 66 (Kochi to Mumbai) to avoid traffic congestion. For this, the National Highway Authority of India needs to acquire 29.11 hectares of land. Of which, 21.09 hectares are wetlands including paddy fields, which serve as the water recharge points for Keezhattur and nearby villages. Thus, the Keezhattur antiacquisition protest seeks attention into different issues. Beyond the antiacquisition agenda, there lies a major environmental controversy. Villagers have been opposing the Road Project to protect their lands from being destroyed. The agitating farmers call themselves Vayalkilikal (birds of the paddy field). When the protests started six months ago, it was a small protest by a mere 60 farmers of the village. Over the time it had converted to a huge struggle with support from various environmental activist groups, political parties and civil society organisations. The protest has been gaining momentum since. In March 2018, protestors threatened to immolate themselves and took over the paddy fields. However, police arrested 49 protestors to diffuse the tension.
As per the news report, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change expert published a report in June 2018, which states that the project requires to be streamlined to ensure that most of the wetlands are saved. Also, it highlights the need for analysis of the possible effects during the peak of monsoon on the village. The report has strengthened the arguments provided by farmers. However, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has already published the notification and is planning to go ahead with the acquisition. In August 2018, a delegation from Vayalkilikal had a meeting with the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and now, plans on submitting suggestions and alternatives to save the wetlands. They are also planning to seek out legal aid, according to a new report.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Type of Land
Type of Common Land
Non-Forest (Grazing Land)
Total investment involved (in Crores):
Type of investment:
Year of Estimation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Land Acquisition Laws
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Public Works Department, Kerala, National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NTPRC)
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
BJP, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM)
Resources Related to Conflict
News Articles Related to the Conflict:
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