The Left Democratic Front (LDF) district Committee, which met here on Monday in the presence of State leaders, urged the government to take over Munnar town and implement a master plan for the town.

The plan should be developed in such a manner that the small traders are not put to any difficulty. Title deeds should be issued to holdings in the town. (Much of the land here are lease holds which have changed hands.)

The Committee sought that the leases (kuthakapattom) in the district, which had had expired in 1980, should be renewed.

The meeting was attended, among others, by LDF State convenor Vaikom Viswan, CPI leader K.E. Ismail, Janata Dal leader Mathew T. Thomas, Kerala Congress (J) leader Francis George, RSP leader D. Sasidharan and Congress (S) leader N.V. Pradeep Kumar.

Briefing the media on the decisions of the meeting, the convenor said the meeting had resolved that the LDF constituents in the district should speak in one voice. There were issues that gave rise to the perception that there were differences in the district unit of the Front. These would be resolved and the Front would work in unison.

Mr. Viswan said all encroachments on government land in and around Munnar would be cleared whether they were small or large.

However, people who had squatted on a few cents of lands for building of houses or similar purposes would be spared. But, they would not be spared if they had squatted on the land after the LDF government deputed the task force to evict the encroachers two years ago.

Noting that the job entrusted to the task forces could not be completed, the convenor asserted that the task would be completed before the end of the term of the government. The LDF subcommittee had visited some of the areas known for large scale encroachments. There was criticism that it skipped many areas. If such encroachments existed, that too would be cleared. The government would also strongly intervene in cases where check dams had been built without mandatory permissions.

The meeting had observed that many people who had been assigned land had not been issued titles. This situation should be remedied. Hassles in the transfer of registry and payment of land tax even when persons had genuine titles should be removed.

The meeting had also urged the government to correct factual errors in the notification of Kurinjimala sanctuary. There were complaints that genuine title holders were affected possibly because there were errors in the settlement notification.

It also wanted the government to reopen closed estates. If there were problems in the sale and transfer of registry, that should be remedied. The proposal for the establishment of a Spices Park in Idukki district should be implemented on a time-bound manner. Opposition to the Park from some quarters should be overcome.

Land earmarked for assignment to the poor should be distributed within a specified time frame. Government land freed of encroachers should be distributed or added to the land bank.

Replying to questions, Mr. Ismail said the government would act efficiently in evicting the encroachers. Though the process had not progressed as hoped for, it was to be noted that the previous government had done nothing about the encroachments. The government, he added, would force the idling officials to act.