‘Vested interests’ block drive against paddy field conversion

Staff Reporter

‘Land mafia trying to malign the revenue officials’

Eight lorries seized in past one week

PATHANAMTHITTA: A drive launched by a revenue squad led by tahsildar Laila Joseph against illegal paddy field conversion in the Upper Kuttanad reaches of Thiruvalla taluk has reportedly taken a back seat with certain political quarters owing allegiance to a ruling party allegedly trying to hinder the process.

Rampant illegal paddy conversion is reportedly taking place in the Upper Kuttanad villages of Kadapra and Peringara. The former Thiruvalla Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) and a village officer in Kadapra were suspended from service, pending inquiry, on the basis of an inquiry report submitted by the Assistant Commissioner in connection with an illegal paddy field conversion a month ago.

The government is yet to appoint an RDO in Thiruvalla. Instead, Deputy Collector (revenue recovery) M.C. Sarasamma has been given additional charge of Thriuvalla RDO since January 20.

KRDSA charge

In a statement here on Wednesday, Kerala Revenue Department Staff Association (KRDSA) taluk committee president Muraleedharan Pillai and secretary Divine C. Robert alleged that vested interests were trying to block the initiatives taken by the revenue officials against the ‘land mafia.’

They alleged that the land mafia had been trying to malign the revenue officials by levelling unfounded charges against them.

The laws maintain that the RDO and the Agriculture Officer were primarily responsible for the protection of wetlands and paddy fields in their jurisdiction, the KRDSA leaders said.

However, the allegations levelled by certain socio-political organisations were aimed at silencing those revenue officials who had taken a stern stand against the land mafia, they alleged.

The revenue squad had seized as many as eight lorries used for illegal land conversion in Kadapra, Peringara and other parts of the taluk in the past one week alone. The association leaders had also called upon the government to appoint a full-time RDO in Thiruvalla without delay.

The ruling Communist Party of India (CPI) unit in Thiruvalla too appeared to be divided over the stand taken by certain local leaders of the party and its feeder organisations on the illegal conversion of paddy fields in the taluk.

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