Plot thickens, civic body may get just two acres

The land at Thrikkakara, which is the bone of contention between Thrikkakara municipality and the Revenue Department.

The land at Thrikkakara, which is the bone of contention between Thrikkakara municipality and the Revenue Department.  

Feud between Thrikkakara municipality, Revenue dept over ownership of land

Thrikkakara municipality may have to settle for just two acres on leasing out a four-and-a-half-acre plot worth crores of rupees near the Collectorate.

The civic body has been engaged in a running battle with the Revenue Department over the ownership of the property. It has now emerged that the department, which had previously shot down the municipality’s claim over the land, has now forwarded a proposal to the Land Revenue Commissioner, recommending that up to two acres be given to the municipality on lease. This covers the land near the municipal bus stand and the area north of it which is being used as dumping ground by the civic body.

The lease period may be decided by the State government, though there has been a settled rule since 1995, stipulating that no government land should be given on lease for a period in excess of 30 years except in rare cases.

Out of the four-and-a-half-acre plot, 60 cents have already been allotted to the Government Medical College, while a proposal for allotting another 40 cents is under the government’s consideration. The district panchayat had also sought 30 cents for constructing the official residence of its president. However, the report of the Revenue Department was silent on the matter, as the civic body had sought transfer of ownership which the government was not interested in.

Meanwhile, the municipality is upbeat over securing possession of the land. “We are hopeful of a favourable decision from the government shortly. We plan to build a new municipal office, shopping complex, and a transport hub on the land,” said municipal chairperson K.K. Neenu.

On the Revenue Department’s recommendations, Mr. Chinganthara sounded confident. “The decision has to be taken by the Cabinet, and it may take time,” he said.

It all started with the municipality laying claim to the land, already used by it, to operate its plastic shredding unit. The civic body had even proposed a project for constructing a municipal complex and made an initial allocation of ₹10 crore.

However, the Revenue Department shot down the claim and put up boards announcing its ownership of the plot. The municipality responded by fencing the property and, somehow, the boards disappeared. However, the department put up fresh boards soon.

The department also dispelled claims of the municipality that until formally allocated by the government, none can claim the property and directed civic officials to produce documents proving the ownership claim.

Later, the Thrikkakara Residents’ Association Apex Council (TRAAC) also joined the row, and its office-bearers approached the District Collector, demanding that no agency be given unbridled right over the property or any unplanned construction be allowed on the plot. They said the land should be developed with a far-sighted vision, taking into account the growth of Thrikkakara in the next 25 years. They also stressed the need for a master plan.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:27:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/plot-thickens-civic-body-may-get-just-two-acres/article19900329.ece

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