All eyes on next phase of STF action

R. Ramabhadran Pillai

Cabinet restrictions will have its impact on future actions

STF may have to rework its strategy

Government response may be discouraging factor

MUNNAR: It was a quite day in Munnar town on Wednesday, with no signs of VIP movements on the roads. Tourists in small numbers moved around effortlessly as rain, accompanied by breeze, conditioned the high ranges into a monsoon tourist spot.

Is it calm before the storm? That is the question lurking in the minds of many in this hill station.

Right from the autorickshaw driver to the tourist home manager, none could be sure about the impending action against unauthorised occupations in the town and adjoining areas.

The members of the Special Task Force (STF) would have to rework their strategy in the wake of the directives spelt out by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Special Officer Suresh Kumar had personally briefed the Cabinet about the action taken by the STF in Munnar. The STF action of demolition of a part of the CPI building in the town had stirred up emotions of Communist Party of India (CPI) activists.

A team of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) sub-committee led by front convener Vaikom Viswan had undertaken a field visit on Tuesday to assess the situation and listened to the grievances of people affected by eviction. The action against CPI office was vehemently opposed by AITUC and CPI leaders at a meeting of LDF sub-committee held here on Tuesday.

The building had been constructed in a piece of land having had its title deed obtained from the Revenue Department during the tenure of the E.K..Nayanar Government. The CPI leaders objected to the STF line of action that sought to invalidate the title deed.

The deed is among those nicknamed as ’Raveendran pattayams’ as they were authorised by the then Deputy Tehsildar M.I. Raveendran.

Title deed dispute

The dispute as to whether these title deeds were genuine remained to be settled. The authenticity of the deeds had been questioned and enquiries had been instituted in several cases.

The Government’s reported directive to exempt political party offices and places of worship from the demolition drive has, in effect, lent credence to the CPI stand. The Government response has been interpreted by some sections of people as a discouraging factor to the STF and this has given rise to speculations on the fate of the task force.

The STF has already removed more than 90 illegal constructions. Notices have been served on many more and the follow-up action is awaited.

The reaction of the LDF sub-committee after its fact-finding tour and the restrictions imposed by the Cabinet will certainly have its impact on the future course of action by STF.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran is expected to camp in Munnar in the coming days to coordinate the eviction drive.

The Government apparently hopes to make things easier despite its resolve to go ahead with the action that had yielded results despite having brought in some negative connotations.

STF may have to rework its strategy

Government response may be discouraging factor

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