Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout in the Assembly on Thursday in protest against the government’s ‘double standards’ in evicting encroachers from government land at Munnar and refusal to discuss the Kerala High Court’s observations in this regard. Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy led the walkout after Speaker K. Radhakrishnan refused permission to Congress member Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan to move an adjournment motion for discussion on the issue.

Objecting to the notice given for moving the motion, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said the government had been taking strong action to evict encroachers of government land. Notices had been issued for demolition of nearly 40 resorts. Regarding the court’s observation that the government had taken divergent stands on validity of titles for land held by political parties and a resort at Munnar, Mr. Rajanedran said the government would examine the court’s observation. He maintained that all who had encroached upon government land would be evicted irrespective of whether they were individuals, organisations or political parties. The land thus recovered would be distributed to the poor.

The Opposition leader demanded that the government come out with a White Paper on who all had been evicted and how they had come into possession of the land.

Mr. Chandy said the government had provided ambiguous and incomplete replies to questions raised by the court on ‘Raveendran pattayams’ (titles issued by a deputy tahasildar Raveendran). Judge S. Sirijagan had observed that the “answer is as vague as ever could be.” The government had been trying to hoodwink the court. The Opposition would extend all support to the government if it was willing to resume government land, he added.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said the exchequer lost crores of rupees as the government connived with the encroachers. The court had observed that the government was withholding information from it and had expressed its displeasure.

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