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LDF Idukki district unit recommends Munnar takeover

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Taking stock: A meeting of the LDF Idukki district committee, attended by State committee members of the front, progressing in Munnar on Monday.
Taking stock: A meeting of the LDF Idukki district committee, attended by State committee members of the front, progressing in Munnar on Monday.

Roy Mathew

Wants a master plan for the town that will not affect small traders

MUNNAR: The Idukki district committee of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which met here on Monday in the presence of the front’s State leaders, urged the government to take over Munnar town and implement a master plan for the town.

The plan should be drafted in such a manner that small traders are not put to any difficulty. Title deeds should be issued to holdings in the town. (Much of the land here are leaseholds which have changed hands.) The committee sought renewal of the leases (kuthakapattom) in the district that had expired in 1980.

The meeting was attended, among others, by LDF State convener Vaikom Viswan, Communist Party of India leader K.E. Ismail, Janata Dal (Secular) leader Mathew T. Thomas, Kerala Congress (J) leader K. Francis George, Revolutionary Socialist Party leader D. Sasidharan and Congress (S) leader N.V. Pradeep Kumar. The LDF State leaders decided not to visit the alleged encroachments as a Cabinet subcommittee and a Communist Party of India (Marxist) delegation had already toured the Munnar area. Briefing the media on the decisions of the meeting, the convener said the meeting had resolved that the LDF constituents in the district should speak in one voice.

Mr. Viswan said all encroachments on government land in and around Munnar would be cleared, whether they were small or large. However, people who had squatted on a few cents of land would be spared. But they would not be spared if they had squatted on the land after the LDF government deputed a task force to evict encroachers two years ago. Noting that the job entrusted to the various task forces could not be completed, the convener asserted that the task would be completed before the end of the present government’s term.

The Cabinet subcommittee had visited some of the areas [last week] known for large-scale encroachments. There was criticism that it skipped many areas. If encroachments existed in those areas, those too would be cleared. The government would strongly intervene in cases where check-dams had been built without mandatory permissions.

No titles

The meeting observed that many people who had been assigned land were not given titles. The situation should be remedied. Hassles in the transfer of registry and payment of land tax even for those who had genuine titles should be removed.

The meeting urged the government to correct factual errors in the notification of the Kurinjimala sanctuary. There were complaints that genuine title-holders were affected, possibly because of errors in the settlement notification. It wanted the government to reopen closed estates. If there were problems for the sale and transfer of registry, those should be remedied. The proposal for the establishment of a spices park in Idukki district should be implemented on a time-bound manner.

The land earmarked for assignment to the poor should be distributed within a specified time frame. Government land freed of encroachers should be distributed or added to the land bank.

Replying to questions, Mr. Ismail said the government would act efficiently in evicting the encroachers. Though the process had not progressed as planned, the government would force idling officials to act.

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