Revenue dept. hampering KSRTC's development?

PALAKKAD Oct. 3. The alleged non-cooperation from the Revenue Department in giving `pattayam' and other revenue records to 240 acres of prime land worth nearly Rs. 1,000 crores owned by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is coming in the way of the efforts to bail out the Corporation from the present financial crisis.

The KSRTC management is seriously working to get the documents by deputing a special officer to deal with the Revenue Department.

The KSRTC owns 390 acres of prime land where its stands are functioning. Out of this the Corporation had proper land documents only for 25 acres till March this year. But after a new estate officer was appointed by the KSRTC records for 125 acres were obtained and now it has got clear land documents for 150 acres.

The absence of proper documents also led to encroachments upon prime lands in areas like Thampanoor and Pappanamcode in Thiruvananthapuram and some other districts. The whole property of the erstwhile Transport Department came to the KSRTC when it was formed as per the Government Order (G.O.No.MS/75/PW/65) of March 22, 1965. However, the KSRTC did not take any steps to get `pattayams' and other records for the land it held.

Now when the Corporation wanted to pledge this dead assets and take loan from financial institutions to buy new buses and to develop the Corporation into a profitable public sector unit, it found that there are no proper land records for major part of its land property spread all over the main towns and cities of the State.

KSRTC sources say that if this vast dead asset is used to mobilise resources for future investment or use the prime land to construct shopping complexes, the Corporation could generate crores of rupees to buy new buses and for its over all development. If the land under the Corporation is given to banks or other financial institutions as collateral security it could get enough money for its future development. If proper land documents are there, the unused land could be used for constructing office and shopping complex under BOT (build operate and transfer) schemes for which the Corporation invited applications. But many people who wanted to invest in this scheme went bank when they found that the land on which they have to build these complexes have no proper records.

For example, the KSRTC has 7.3 acres of land at Thampanoor central bus stand. Out of this 42 cents were given free of cost by the State Government to Thiruvananthapuram Corporation without even asking the KSRTC because the land is still shown as revenue `purampoke'. This was in 1998 during the last LDF Government's tenure, the sources say.

Like that the Corporation's 1.42 acres of land at West Fort in Thiruvananthapuram was given to set up a children's park to the City Corporation. This land was given to the KSRTC before 1965 but now the Revenue Department has sent notice for lease arrears of Rs.5.72 crores. The matter came before the High Power Committee for redressal of disputes between Government departments on July 22. It opined that since the land belonged to the KSRTC, the Revenue Department charging lease rent on the Corporation is mysterious. If the Revenue Department had given proper documents for these properties to the KSRTC, such disputes would not have come up, it is pointed out.

The sources say that at Pappanamcode KSRTC depot, the Corporation has five acres of land. Out of this 50 cent is allegedly encroached by a society floated by some union leaders. Here too, the KSRTC is not having proper documents and sketches demarcating the property, though it is located in the heart of her capital city. Those who encroached upon the land got `pattayam' but not the KSRTC.

The KSRTC has 105 acres prime land in Thiruvananthapuram: 7.33 acres at Thampanoor, 24 acres at the Pappanamcode central workshop, 5 acres at the District Transport Office, 2.1 acres at Peroorkada, 2.5 acres in Thiruvananthapuram city bus stand, 3 acres at the Vikas Bhavan depot, 1.42 acres at Thekke Theruvu in East Fort, 5 acres in Attingal, 4.5 acres in Nedumangadu, 5 acres in Kattakkada, 4 acres in Neyyattinkara, 11.5 acres at Parasala and the Transport Bhavan in East Fort has four acres of land with multi-storey buildings.

In Malappuram district, the KSRTC hast 67 acres. In a single centre the largest area of land is at Edappal--54 acres, where a regional workshop is functioning.

The KSRTC has 21 acres in Kollam district. The Kottaraka KSRTC stand has an area of 4 acres. In Ernakulam it has 37 acres of prime land. The Ernakulam Central bus stand has 7.5 acres. In Palakkad the KSRTC has 13 acres. In Thrissur it has 21 acres, Kozhikode 9 acres, Kannur 10 acres, Wayanad 16 acres and in Kasargode 3 acres. The KSRTC has 25 acres each in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, 19 acres in Kottayam and 14.5 acres in Idukki.

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