The government has not made much headway in removing encroachments from its lands, according to the Revenue Department policy note tabled in the Assembly on Monday by Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan.

As per the official statistics, less than 10 per cent of the total extent of encroachment has been removed so far. Of the 1.84 lakh acres identified as areas under encroachment as on April 1, 2011, the government could retrieve only 18,233 acres as on February 29, 2012.

While there were 6.58 lakh instances of encroachment, only 72,318 encroachers had been evicted. The maximum encroachments (nearly three lakh) covering 58,820 acres were identified in water course poramboke. Of these, 13,333 encroachments had been removed and 4,605 acres retrieved.

The Minister said that the removal of encroachments on government lands was the prime duty of the Revenue Department and a government order in 1987 and a Madras High Court judgement in 2000 had set the department a mandate to identify illegal encroachments on water courses and restore their original position after eviction.

As regards encroachments on poramboke and other lands vested with village panchayats and local bodies, as per the directions of the Supreme Court, the government had to formulate an action plan to find out and evict all such encroachments for the betterment of society, the Minister said. As of February this year, the government had notified 2.08 lakh acres as surplus and assigned 1.90 lakh acres to the landless poor. As many as 66,429 Scheduled Cast families had been given 71,277 acres, the Minister said in his reply to the demands for grants for the Revenue Department.

Exceeding the target, the government had issued 1.20 lakh pattas in the past six months and distributed 21,852 community certificates to Scheduled Tribes alone in the past eight months.

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