Tribals in Attappady have land documents only for 18,000 acres out of the 25,700 acres under their possession now.

According to the records with the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) office of Attappady Block ,the 33,000 strong tribal population is in possession of 25,700 acres of land out of the total 1.80 lakh acres in Attappady Hills that included forest, revenue and barren land.

According to ITDP Project Officer P.V. Radhakirshnan, that there are 11,000 tribal families living in 8,589 houses in 192 hamlets. He said that the 7,700 acres for which the tribal people are not having records was because the land was still in the name of their fathers and grandfathers. Most of them had passed away but the records were not transferred to the legal heirs.

If this ancestral property is divided among the legal heirs and title-deeds given to them, the landlessness of the tribal people could be solved to a great extent, he said.

Since all these lands were with tribal people before the cut-off year of 1977, there is no legal problem in giving Pattayam, he said.

P.R.G. Mathur, tribal expert and former Director of the Kerala Institute for Research Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Kirtads) has urged the government to prepare a record of rights of the tribal land and give proper title deeds to them.

Transfer of land to a non-tribal person should be statutorily declared null and void, he said.

Observers here said that tribals have lost much of their ancestral property through fraudulent and coercive methods.

The tribals had still not got their 10,029 acres of alienated land despite Court orders and promises of successive governments.

Due to the absence of proper records, land is being encroached and taken away by some multinational wind mill companies, observers alleged.

Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during his visit to Attappady along with Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on June 6, 2013 declared that the tribal people will be given records for the land under their possession, no steps were initiated for its implementation, the observers said.

Recently T.K. A. Nair, Advisor to Prime Minister, who visited Attappady, directed the Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan to provide land to all tribal people within six months.

The previous LDF government had set up an office and a special team to survey the land in Kottathara village where 200 acres of tribal land was found encroached by windmill companies.

But after the UDF government came to power this office was closed down, observers said.


Government relaxes Land Assignment RulesDecember 23, 2013