Kerala

Church vows to fight forcible acquisition of Cheruvally estate

Episcopal council asks church to hold talk with the State if its ownership claim is approved

Asserting its ownership rights over the Cheruvally estate once again, an episcopal council of the Believers Eastern Church on Saturday decided to initiate legal action against any attempts to forcibly acquire the property from its possession for the airport project.

In a statement, the church noted that it had carried out the property’s registration in 2005 by meeting all legal requirements and even completed the Pokkuvaravu and paid the land tax. There were neither any claims nor any complaints regarding its ownership till then.

“The episcopal council has approved the church to do whatever is required to fight legally for its rights over the property,” read the statement. At the same time, it also requested not to view the move as an attempt to confront the government.

Meanwhile, the council also gave its go-ahead to the church for holding discussions with the State government on the property if the latter approved its ownership rights on the land.

Mar Athanasius Yohan metropolitan presided over the council held at the church’s head quarters in Thiruvalla in the evening.

The property, spread over 2,263 acres across the Erumeli south and Manimala villages, was sold to the Gospel of Asia by the Harrisons Malayalam Limited (HML) in 2005. The deal, however, landed in trouble after Mr. Rajamanickam, as a special officer of the State government, issued an order on May 28, 2015, attaching around 38,000 acres of land in possession or transferred by the HML, including the Cheruvally estate, citing it as revenue land.

The Kottayam district administration has now filed a civil suit at a court in Pala, claiming its ownership over the estate.

As per reports, the State government is planning to take over the property invoking Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARRA), 2013. As per the Act, the government will have to deposit the price of the land in the court and if the church can prove the ownership in the court, they will be entitled to get the amount.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:28:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/church-vows-to-fight-forcible-acquisition-of-cheruvally-estate/article31934913.ece

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