Move of Revenue Department likely to incur wrath of local people

Survey work for land acquisition in the district related to the proposed NH widening plan will start shortly despite protests by local people over a suitable rehabilitation package.

According to a recent decision arrived at by Revenue officials, the survey team is also likely to get the protection of the police to complete the procedures on time and prepare the comprehensive details of the land for the development of a four-lane road.

The protests by local people are mounting, as the assurance earlier made by the State government to stop all land acquisition activities till a suitable rehabilitation package is extended to the evacuated residents remains still in balance. Terming the new move the result of an “illegal alliance between the Revenue Department and private partners”, leaders of NH Action Committee comprising residents and merchants allege the order to resume survey is an open violation of a formal decision taken during the term of former Collector K.V. Mohan Kumar. An official panel headed by Mr. Mohan Kumar earlier had stopped all the land survey works taking into account the public protests over a suitable rehabilitation package.

Action committee leaders C.V. Balagopal and A.T. Mahesh say the Union government is yet to come out with a formal decision on the rehabilitation package. This has doubled the concerns of the people. “A request already submitted by the State government to the centre, too, is pending for months,” they add.

The action committee leaders affirm that the move to restart the survey amid all these uncertainties will incur the wrath of the public and there will not be any compromise on the part of people till the announcement of a proper rehabilitation package. The leaders also claim they have the support of all political parties in their fight for reasonable compensation on the issue.

“A few months ago, local people in Koyilandy foiled an attempt of the Revenue squad to resume the land survey. Similar oppositions will be there in all locations if the survey activities continue without understanding the sentiments of people,” says P.P. Bhaskaran, one of the local action committee leaders. He wants the district administration to convene a meeting of landholders in the project area to find an amicable solution to the issue to avoid dragging the people to the street in protest.

Meanwhile, revenue officials say there will not be any forceful move to acquire land and evacuate people without giving them a proper rehabilitation package as per government norms. “Land survey will no way result in their evacuation from the spot,” they say.

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