The government will form a public land protection force using the services of ex-service men for protection of government land resumed by the government from encroachers at Munnar and elsewhere, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said here on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, the Minister said that force would be a voluntary core with duty to secure the lands from encroachment. The government would provide them with facilities and equipment. There would be beat offices to which the men would report developments. Besides, higher officials including district level officers would make periodic visits to the localities for inspection.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the conference of revenue officials held here on Tuesday had resolved to speed up about 350 cases relating to encroachments before various courts. No proper affidavits had been filed in many of these cases by the previous government. They would be filed immediately as part of the bid to speed up the cases. The High Court had been requested to set up a special bench for disposal of the cases.

He said that the conference had also resolved that officials of the Department above the rank of Class IV employees should declare their assets and liabilities. Orders regarding this would be issued immediately. It had also been decided that complaints redress cells should be started in each collectorate and the third Saturday of each month should be set apart for interaction with the public. Surprise inspection of village officers should be conducted once in every month. Seven senior officers (one each for two districts) would be appointed to supervise the checks.

He said that the issue of titles to pre-1977 settlers would be issued on a time-bound basis. Field survey of 28588 hectares was to be completed for this by August 10 and the issue of titles completed by November 30. Joint Commissioner of Land Revenue C. Raghu and Assistant Commissioner Sajith Babu had been put in charge of that. Director of Survey and Land Records K. B. Valsala Kumari would be in charge of survey of lands to be resumed by the government.

He said that the government’s drive for clearance of pending files was progressing. About 23 per cent of more than 16000 files pending in the Secretariat had been cleared. More than 25000 files were remaining to be cleared in the collectorates.