The Kerala government, on Monday, informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that 14,200 tribal families still remained landless in the State.

The government said this in an affidavit filed in response to a directive to provide data of landless tribal people and the distribution of land to them when writ petitions filed by Sreyams Kumar, MLA, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd. and others seeking police protection for their land came up before the court. The affidavit filed before the Bench said 4,574 acres (1 acre = 0.4 hectare) of land had been distributed to the tribal people under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act after clearing 3,762 applications.

The government intended to allot one acre of land and a residential house each to the landless tribal families. To achieve this aim, 15,000 acres of land had to be found. The government did not have much land with it. Therefore, the options were to buy or compulsorily acquire land.

The affidavit said the government was in the process of allotting Rs.50 crore to Wayanad district for buying 1,000 acres of land for the tribal people. The tribal population in Wayanad came to 1,38,057, or 37.86 per cent of the tribal population in the State.

As much as 1,575.47 acres of land had been distributed to the tribal people in the district. The government had assigned 2,485.6 hectares of land to 7,826 tribal people till December 31, 2009 in the State. Livelihood opportunities and infrastructure should be made available to tribals.

Repossession

In yet another affidavit, the government said that it would repossess the 14.44 acres of land occupied by Mr. Sreyams Kumar subject to the decision taken by the Sulthan Bathery Sub-Court where a suit filed by the MLA was pending.

One acre of land, one house intended for each such family1,000 acres of land to be acquired in Wayanad for tribals