The Harrisons Malayalam Limited (HML) has got only 38,500 acres of land in its possession in the State and all its land holdings are legitimate, said Mr C.Vinayaraghavan and V.Venugopal, heads of the company’s rubber division and legal department respectively.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, they said HML has always been willing to co-operate with any inquiry and survey of its land holdings.
They said disruption of activities at plantations, an industry which supports thousands of families in the State directly or indirectly, could seriously affect the common man, besides badly affecting the State’s economy as plantations substantially contribute to the public exchequer by way of taxes and levies, they said.
They have called upon the Government not to take any unilateral action and to avoid hasty steps to dispossess the company of the lands held by it for over 100 years, with out conducting proper enquiries and following the due process of law.
Mr. Viayaraghavan alleged that the Government has not taken any effective step to clear the encroachment of the Kumbazha Estate at Chengara by a group of people in the name of land struggle against the Government, despite a clear direction from the Kerala High Court to evict the encroachers from the private land two years ago.
He said as many a 1000 people claiming themselves as Scheduled Tribes category have encroached upon 350 acres of HML land, pitching tents there, in August, 2007. It is noteworthy that a majority of the encroachers do not belong to Scheduled Tribe category and most of them own land of their own in various other parts of the State.
Mr. Venugopal said HML did not have any excess land or forest land in the Kumabazha Estate and the encroachment has already cost not less than Rs 5 crore to the company.
He said HML would move contempt of Court proceedings against the Chief Secretary soon for the inordinate delay in complying with the High Court order.