In an attempt to put an end to the Attappady land row, the State Cabinet has decided to take over and return to its original owners the 85.21 acres of tribal land in Attappady village of Palakkad district, in possession of multinational wind energy company Suzlon.
The government had earlier taken the position that the windmills set up on the land would remain in place and that the Adivasi owners of the land would get 5 per cent of the profit. However, the decision taken on the basis of discussions with some of the land owners met with strong objections and the government has now taken the stand that it would go by the wishes of the Adivasis and the organisations championing their cause when deciding the future course of action in the matter.
Announcing the decision to take back the land in question, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Tuesday that the government would provide the Adivasi land owners with the necessary ownership documents and consult them on how the two windmills that have already been set up on the disputed land should be operated. The government wished to hand over the windmills to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and pass on a share of the profits to the land owners. But a decision on this would be taken only after getting the consent of the land owners and major Adivasi organisations supporting them, he said.
Mr. Chandy said the cases relating to illegal appropriation of Adivasi land and the Vigilance investigation against officials suspected of having abetted in the land deals would be pursued with vigour. Asked how the Power Department came to issue an order recently ratifying the land deal if the government was clear as to what it wanted to do with the tribal land in question, Mr. Chandy said the order was issued in the larger context of the need to ensure that Adivasis did not lose out when their land was taken over for any scheme.