Despite repeated assurances by the LDF government that all tribes in the State would be given land before the expiry of its term, no decision has been taken on the proposal to allot 3,626 acres of land to 1,330 landless tribal families in the district, mainly in Attappady.
The District Collector had sent the proposal to the State government on January 19, 2002 to allot 3,626 acres of land from the 4,361.3 acres available with the government to landless tribes and tribes whose land was alienated.
The heads of tribal hamlets (ooru mooppans) had, on a number of times, in their ooru sabhas demanded that the government implement this proposal that could solve the tribal land alienation issue to a great extent in the district. The tribal head, Kakki mooppan, has alleged that the government has no political will to give land to the landless tribes.
Even land allotted to them earlier in Attappady is yet to come into their possession. Some tribes have three pattayams (title deeds) issued by successive governments with no trace of land, said Natta mooppan.
For instance, about 500 tribal families were given pattayams at Melthottam in Sholayur village for 1,025 acres of land by then Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar at a mega function in Agali, Attappady, presided over by then Revenue Minister K.E. Ismail on July 9, 1999.
The tribals were allotted this land in lieu of 10,160.19 acres of land alienated in Attappady between 1960 and 1977. But this land was notified as vested forest and was taken over by the Forest Department.
The tribes did not get any land in lieu of land at Melthottam, and are now running from pillar to post with their pattayams pleading for possession of the land.
The District administration has received 2,432 petitions on possession of land from tribes, and 955 cases were decided in their favour. The District Collector’s proposal also says that tribes were given an area of 259.67 acres in 114 cases. They are to be given 1471.47 acres in 609 cases, in which the tribes hold below two hectors of land. The tribal land act provides for a tribal family to get a minimum of five acres of land.
As per the government survey conducted in 1999, there were 614 landless tribes and 403 of them held less than one acre in Attappady. But the latest finding shows that there are 1,328 landless tribes in Attappady.