A team of officials led by M.G. Rajamanickam, Special Officer and Collector for Government Land Resumption from Harrisons Malayalam Limited (HML), on Saturday inspected the Isfield, Venture and Nagamala estates of the HML at Thenmala and Aryankavu panchayats in Kollam.

The 40-member team comprised officials from the Revenue, Survey, Police and Forest departments. The team was divided into three for inspecting the estates. The inspection which began in the morning went on till evening.

Mr. Rajamanickam told The Hindu that the objective of the inspection was to assess whether the land with survey numbers in question was in possession of the HML or the government. If the land was in possession of the HML, the company would have to produce documentary proof.

Based on the inspection, the HML would be served notice as an opportunity to produce the documentary proof in this connection.

Mr. Rajamanickam said the notice would be served on the company only after inspection of the HML estates at Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts.

He said Saturday’s inspection at Thenmala and Aryankavu was not to identify any un-assessed government land but part of a procedure to serve notice on the HML. The identification could be made only after the HML responded to the notice.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the HML claimed that the estates inspected by Mr. Rajamanickam at Thenmala and Aryankavu “are owned and are in the absolute possession and enjoyment of the company for more than 100 years”.

It said the estates were purchased from the erstwhile government of Travancore as evidenced by title deeds executed and registered in the then Quilon Sub Registry Office in 1916.

The estates in question were sold and transferred to the predecessors of the HML by the Divan of Travancore on behalf of the government of Travancore and that the company had the original title deeds in respect of the same executed and registered in the Quilon Sub Registry in 1916.

The HML statement said the Pathanapuram Tahsildar had in 1991 certified that the estates in question were owned and possessed by the company. The statement also said the company would cooperate with any impartial inquiry or survey of its land and had communicated the same to the officials.

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