Special Correspondent

Now the land of pre-1977 settlers in Idukki are only heritable

Legal issues to be examined at the next Cabinet meeting, says Revenue Minister

Titles for farmers living on land notified for KSEB projects

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet will consider granting of transferability of titles to pre-1977 settlers in Idukki and other districts.

A decision to this effect was taken at the conference of political parties, representatives of high range protection council and leaders of farmers from Idukki district convened by Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan here on Wednesday. The High Range Samrakshana Samithi later withdrew their agitation in view of the assurances given by the government on their demands.

Cannot be sold

Revenue Minister K. P. Rajendran told the media after the conference that the Cabinet would examine legal issues involved in allowing unconditional title to settlers at its next meeting.

Now the land is only heritable and not alienable, according to rules framed in 1993.

Steps to issue titles to the remaining pre-1977 settlers would be speeded up and completed in six months. (The titles were being issued on the basis of conditional clearance given by the Centre for diversion of forest lands under the Forest Conservation Act).

Case of sanctuary

The settlement officer of the Kurinjimala Sanctuary would be asked to address the problems of the farmers and complete the settlement within three months.

(The sanctuary had been notified excluding lands of farmers with titles. However, some people had launched an agitation claiming that farm lands had been included in the sanctuary.)

The Minister said that the government would also take steps to issue titles to farmers who were living on land notified for the projects of KSEB.

The KSEB had abandoned the projects for which the land had been notified. The decision would benefit about 14,000 farmers living on project areas such as Perinjankutty.

Cardamom leases

He said that the government was taking steps to expedite the case before the Supreme Court on renewal of cardamom leases.

In view of stay on renewal of leases, premium and tax were not being collected from the farmers. Now, the government had started collecting them so as to enable the farmers to claim various assistances for cardamom cultivation.

Spices Board project

The Spices Board had announced a Rs.50-crore project for promotion of cultivation. The farmer would now be able to claim the benefits.

Besides the Chief Minister and the Revenue Minister, the conference was attended by the Ministers in charge of Home, Forests, Power, Labour, Local Self Government and Water Resources and local members of the Assembly and Idukki member of Parliament P. T. Thomas.

Fr. Sebastian Kochupurackal and Joyce George represented the High Range Samrakshana Samithi and Josekutty J. Ozhukayil, Raju Xavier and K. K. Devasia represented the Malanadu Karshaka Samithi.