Sale of estate land as plots at Wagamon

Peerumade tahsildar K.N. Sasidharan said on Wednesday that the mutation certificates (pokkuvaravu) of the plots sold by M.M.J. Plantations Ltd. at Wagamon shall be reviewed and, if found illegal, cancelled if the government issues a fresh order in this regard.

Idukki Collector Ajith Patil had on Tuesday cancelled the mutation certificates (transfer of registry) of 11 acres of a tea estate owned by M.M.J. Plantations, as the sale of the estate land goes against the provisions of the Tea Act. Though the Collector has cancelled the transfer of registry, legal experts point out that the order will become valid only when a government order reversing a June 3 order (which endorsed the transfer) is issued.

Each case shall be examined and the transfer of registry cancelled, if these are found to be illegal, the tahsildar said.

It is reported that the real estate lobby has been active at Wagamon and that many buildings have come up in the place. According to an agreement reached by the previous Left Democratic Front government with the managements of closed tea estates in the region, the latter were permitted to sell 10 cents of land to every worker who had lost his/her job and to clear the arrears the estates owed to the workers. The government, however, cancelled the provisions to sell estate land once it became clear that the real estate lobby were buying the land by making fake documents. Large tracts of ecologically sensitive grasslands at Wagamon have now fallen into the hands of the real estate lobby.

Mr. Sasidharan said the cancellation of all transfer of registry with respect to the sale of land of other estates at Wagamon would depend upon the government’s decision in this regard. Each case shall be considered separately to know the genuineness of the transfer.

A letter from the Collector’s office had found its way to the tahsildar on June 26 to speed up the transfer of registry of estate land sold in pieces. The letter was sent before Mr. Patil took charge. The new Collector has sought an explanation from the official who allegedly sent the letter in the name of the then Collector T. Bhaskaran.

Mr. Bhaskaran told The Hindu on Wednesday that there was a specific order from the government on June 3, 2013 endorsing the transfer of registry of 11 acres of land of M.M.J. Plantations. ‘‘A copy of the order reached the collectorate on June 16 when I had already got my transfer orders. Instead of any follow-up action, I just asked the deputy collector concerned a report on the transfer of registry of the plots in question. It was without my knowledge that the copy of the government order was sent to the Peerumade tahsildar, with a letter to speed up the transfer of registry.’’

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