Action against benami holders of excess land

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Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran chaired a Land Reforms Review Board meet on Tuesday.
Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran chaired a Land Reforms Review Board meet on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

Taluk land boards to initiate action

Cases before boards to be speeded up

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The reconstituted Land Reforms Review Board, which met here on Tuesday with Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran in the chair, decided to direct taluk land boards to initiate action against benami and other transactions of excess land.

The Minister said a Cabinet committee had earlier directed Vigilance inquiries and inspections by deputy collectors on registration of excess land in the name of trusts and benamis. The boards could initiate action in the light of the findings of the inquiries and inspections.

The Board also decided to examine the issue of settlements on excess lands. These included organised encroachments. Some involved only a few cents in the possession of poor people. Inquires would be instituted to find out whether any land set apart for public purposes had been encroached upon.

It resolved to distribute part of the land set apart for public purposes to the landless. More than 10,000 acres had been set apart for public purposes. Part of these lands had not been used so far for any public purpose. These could be distributed if not needed for public purposes.

20-year-old cases

The Board proposed measures to speed up cases before taluk land boards. As many as 1,409 cases involving 60,373 acres were before the taluk boards now. These cases were more than 20 years old. Similarly, 343 cases relating to 13,052 acres, decided by the taluk boards, were before the High Court on appeal. These cases were more than 15 years old. Special government pleaders, it suggested, should be appointed to speed up those cases.

The Board called for measures to protect land added to the land bank. Land suitable for distribution to the landless under the land bank should be identified and distributed.

Mr. Rajendran told the media after the meet that legislation would be brought in to prevent sale of land allocated to the landless and tribals. The Law Department would prepare the draft.

The meeting was attended by members Neela Gangadharan (Commissioner of Land Revenue), E. Chandrasekharan, K. Prakash Babu, K.M. Chandrasekhara Sarma, Omallur Sankaran, E.K. Narayanan and Sunny Joseph.

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