A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has charged the State with a lack of political will in providing land to landless tribal people in the State.
The Audit Report (General and Social Sector) of the CAG for the financial year 2011-12 accuses the government of tardy implementation of a Rs. 175-crore scheme for the resettlement of landless tribal people launched in 2001.
“Only 39 per cent of the target was achieved in distribution of land even after 10 years,” it said.
Delay in purchase
The project was to be completed within five years, but only 39 per cent of the families identified had been given land. Purchase of land had been delayed despite the availability of funds.
The report said the lack of political will was evident from the reply the government had given to the CAG.
“The government replied (June 2012) that most of the land identified could be distributed only with prior permission of the Government of India [GOI], and the State government have approached the GOI for clearance of 30,124 acres of forestland for assignment to tribal families,” it said. But forestland could not be used for such purposes.
The government constituted the Tribal Resettlement and Development Mission for implementation of the scheme in November 2001. Its main objectives were to distribute one acre to five acres of land free to each landless tribal family and infrastructure development.
The Principal Secretary, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development Department, was appointed Mission Chief. In every district, a committee chaired by the District Collector was formed.
The CAG paints a dismal picture of land allotment in Palakkad, where the tribal people of Attappady alienated 10,796.16 acres between 1960 and 1980.
Under the scheme, only 4.44 acres of land was distributed to 10 families. As many as 1,826 families identified as beneficiaries are yet to get land.
“Audit noticed that even the land distributed was not accepted by the beneficiaries as the major portion of the same was rocky and unsuitable for any type of development activities, including cultivation,” the report said.
“Further, 63.19 acres of land belonging to the Irrigation Department was ordered (August 2003) to be transferred to the mission for distribution. However, formalities for taking possession of the land were completed only in May 2010. The Project Officer, Integrated Tribal Development Project, Palakkad, said (February 2012) that the land had not been distributed to beneficiaries as the selection of beneficiaries was not completed, ” the report said.
The report said that in Idukki district, land was allotted only to 949 of the 1,402 families identified.
Though 123 acres was identified, the land could not be distributed because of encroachment.
In Thiruvananthapuram district, no land was allotted though 16 families were identified. In Pathanamthitta, 12.9 acres was distributed to 28 families, but 128 more are waiting for land. In Thrissur, only 5.68 acres was allotted to 20 families with 74 families remaining. In Malappuram, 46.38 acres of land was allotted to 61 families with 733 waiting.
Kannur and Wayanad districts came first in the distribution of land. In Kannur, 3,604.37 acres was allotted to 3,700 families.
As many as 170 families are yet to get land in the district. In Wayanad, 2,526 acres was allotted to 997 families, but 4,913 more beneficiaries are waiting.
The CAG expressed doubts about the fairness and transparency in the selection of beneficiaries in accordance with the Government Order.
“Records relating to selection of beneficiaries were not available in two of the four districts test-checked,” the report said.