When the tribal people are grieving over the death of over 50 infants due to malnutrition, the land lobby is ‘grabbing’ whatever land remaining with them in the Attappady hills using fabricated land records.
In survey no.1275 of Kottathara village in Sholayur grama panchayat, 40 acres belonging to the tribal people had allegedly been registered by some persons using fabricated records for starting an organic farm and real estate business, said M. Sukumaran, convener of the Attappady Samrakshana Samithy.
In 2011, a panel headed by the then Chief Secretary had found that Revenue and Registration Departments officials had registered 300 acres in this survey number though it had only 224 acres. Most of the land here belonged to the tribal people and it was here another 40 acres had been registered, Mr. Sukumaran alleged.
The land in the survey number was found to be tribal land by the committee when a controversy on encroachment on the tribal land by multinational windmill companies surfaced during the term of the previous Left Democratic Front government. The government had then ordered not to register any land in the survey number till the issue was settled.
On his complaint, the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) officer has requested the District Collector to order an inquiry and cancel the registration of the land that had taken place without the knowledge of the tribal people.
“Now in the same survey number, land transactions are continuing and the tribal people have complained to the ITDP officials about land grab in survey no.1275 of Kottathara village. Similarly, in survey no.1819 at Adwanapetti, near Vellakulam, in Kottathara village, 60 acres assigned to the tribal people and the Chengara land agitators had been registered in the name of some people allegedly using possession and encumbrance certificates obtained from the village office,” Mr. Sukumaran alleged.
Mr. Sukumaran, in his complaint to the District Collector and the ITDP, said 200 acres in survey nos. 1275, 1819 and 524 belonging to the tribal people had been registered recently in the name of non-tribal people allegedly using false land records with the connivance of officials .
Lok Ayukta approached
The tribal people who had not been restored alienated land in Attappady despite court orders and promises of governments had approached the Lok Ayukta on February 20 seeking a probe into denial of land. The Lok Ayukta at a sitting in Kochi on April 27 directed them to file detailed complaints.