In an order issued on Friday, the Taluk Land Board of Kozhencherry has declared 132 hectares of land originally owned by K.J. Abraham of Kozhencherry as excess land and has directed the Revenue officials concerned to take possession of the excess land, invoking the relevant provisions in the Kerala Land Reforms Act.
The 132 ha of excess include 232 acres of land in Aranmula, Kidangannur, and Mallappuzhasserry villages that had been sold to the Chennai-based KGS Group for construction of a private airport by Mr. Abraham.
Talking to The Hindu, A. Abdul Samad, Deputy Collector and the Taluk Land Board chairman, said the decision of the Taluk Land Board came on the basis of a order of the State Land Board (Order No.LB(B8)4257/08, dated July 3, 2012) for initiating suo motu proceedings to take over the excess land at Aranmula.
Official sources said the mutation of the land sold by Mr. Abraham to the KGS Group had also been rendered null and void with the order of the Taluk Land Board declaring it as excess land.
According to the Deputy Collector, Mr Abraham, in his capacity as chairman of various trusts, had acquired excess land and the Taluk Land Board had issued a draft statement (No. SM/1/12), earlier, on September 20, 2012 asking him to surrender the 132 ha of land held by him. The officers concerned had also been directed to take necessary steps to cancel the mutation of 77.8116 ha of land sold to the KGS company by Mr. Abraham and to retain the same in the previous Thandapper.
Kozhencherry tahsildar Daniel Mathew said the Revenue Department would take immediate steps to take over the excess land.
It is also a fact that the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had rejected the plea of the KGS Group for exemption from the Land Reforms Act for the land it had purchased from Mr. Abraham in 2010.
In another report (No. C8-51855/09) submitted to the Land Revenue Commissioner on February 12, the District Collector had stated that Mr Abraham had converted a portion of the paddy land and a natural stream, encroaching upon the government property.
The Additional Tahsildar of Kozhenchery had registered a case against him under the Kerala Land Conservancy Act and evicted the encroachment in an area of 2.3540 ha of the poramboke stream on July 12, 2012. The Revenue Department had also erected a board there, declaring the area government property, the report said.
Official sources say that the government cannot assign the excess land for industrial purpose because the law permits its assignment only to landless agriculture labourers.