Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Walkout over tribal land alienation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) put the Kerala government on the defensive in the Assembly on Wednesday with a spirited attack followed by a walkout over large-scale alienation of tribal land at Kottathara village in Palakkad district between 2006 and 2009.

Armed with documents to support their case, the Opposition pointed out that a �real estate mafia had, under the pretence of setting up a wind farm, grabbed around 350 acres of tribal land in the Nallasinka and Varadampadi Adivasi hamlets during the period. They had also encroached upon around 50 acres of forest land in the area. They bought the Adivasi land through 52 transactions relating to Survey No. 1275 at the Agali sub-registrars office. The Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) officer concerned had submitted a report to the government exposing the magnitude of the land grab as far back as May 7, but no action had been taken on it so far, they alleged.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy wanted the wind farm to be closed down immediately and a comprehensive inquiry, preferably by an Assembly committee, initiated to bring out all facts relating to the land grab.

Pointing out that the land grabbers had duped the revenue, registration, power and SC/ST development departments, he sought stern action against all those responsible,

Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan said that a three-member committee headed by the Ottappalam RDO would hold a hearing on the allegations at Agali on Friday and that stern action would be taken against all persons concerned if the RDOs inquiry brought to light any wrongdoing.

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