Kerala

Agriculture dept. allows paddy field restoration

The then Alappuzha Collector had stalled the move in 2014

The Agriculture Department has quashed an order issued by the then Alappuzha District Collector N. Padmakumar in November 2014 stalling the restoration of a paddy field illegally reclaimed by Lake Palace Resort.

The then district administration’s failure to restore the field led to the resort constructing a parking area there in violation of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. Former Transport Minister Thomas Chandy is a director of the Water World Tourism Company, the promoters of Lake Palace Resort.

By doing this, the government has nullified its own order issued earlier.

The order noted that based on a report of the village officer, the illegal conversion on three stretches was reported to the District Collector by the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Alappuzha, on February 21, 2013. However, the Collector reasoned that the report was prepared without proper site inspection and without giving consideration to the stakeholders.

Further, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Alappuzha, submitted another report on August 28, 2014.

Comparative analysis

“The District Collector, on a comparative analysis of both the reports submitted on February 21, 2013 and August 28, 2014, assumed that the report on August 2014 was more reliable.

The Collector is fully empowered to take stringent action against the illegal conversion as reported by the RDO in 2013. If the Collector had considered the report, there would have no relevance of comparative analogue and would not have ordered that the illegal reclamation need not be restored,” the Agriculture Department order says.

Collector’s authority

“It is pertinent to note that the District Collector has no authority to regularise any illegal reclamation/conversions as per the Kerala Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act, 2008,” the order adds.

Earlier, in November 2018, the Agriculture Department had rejected an appeal filed by Leelama Easow, sister of Thomas Chandy, questioning a government order to restore the paddy field levelled by Lake Palace Resort for the construction of parking area.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:50:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/agriculture-dept-allows-paddy-field-restoration/article26485840.ece

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