The government is yet to implement most of a State-specific advisory issued by the Union Ministry of Rural Development seven months ago for improving and expediting existing land reform measures within the State.
The Ministry had asked the government to revisit and review the amendment made to the Kerala Land Reforms Act, which exempted diversion of plantation land for vegetable and herbs cultivation and also for tourism development purposes. However, the State is yet to do this.
Similar is the fate of a suggestion to revisit and consider re-fixing the exemptions given to plantation companies and tea and coffee estates.
The Ministry had called for completion of the resurvey of land, which had been stopped by the government in 2012, in its advisory issued on March 19 this year.
The resurvey is yet to be resumed. Another advice was that the government must set up a land board with the help of the Kerala Legal Service Authority at taluk-level throughout the State.
Official sources said the government was examining this and other proposals made by the Ministry.
The Ministry had wanted the State government to ensure implementation of the Chengara agreement in 2011 that ensured 25 cents to one acre of agriculture land to the Dalit families. Progress had been achieved in this respect even before the advisory was received by the government.
There was also a suggestion that the government should re-distribute the vacant plantation land to the landless poor. The government was now distributing three cents to the poor under the Zero Landless (Citizens) Project. In the first phase, only revenue puramboke, bought-in-land, surplus land and escheat land had been distributed.
However, some government plantation areas had also been distributed to the tribal people earlier. Around 3,000 tribal people had been given land under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act.