Land for SCTIMST centre entangled in compensation issue
The proposal to set up a centre of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Wayanad has met with a roadblock with the Revenue Department coming out against the move to grant compensation to the owners of the Glen Leven Estate, to be acquired for the purpose, citing that it was actually government land.
The 75 acres of land that comes under exempted category is controlled land for which the Revenue Department says that no compensation needs to be given. It is learned that a compensation of about `20 to `25 crore is proposed to be given to the land owners. “There is no need to give compensation to exempted land when it is acquired,’’ highly placed sources said.
The report of the Revenue Divisional Office, Mananthavadi dated November 30, 2012, says that an extent of 64.93 acres belonging to Glen Leven estates is declared as excess land by the Taluk Land Board. Once declared as excess land, it has to be surrendered to the government free of cost.
There is no provision to give compensation to excess land under the Land Acquisition Act, they said. The sources said even if it is a plantation, the land that is in excess of 15 acres is surplus land and comes under the government control as per the Kerala Land Reforms Act. Moreover, as the land comes under exempted category, it is automatically vested with the government once the category is changed as per section 87 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act. In section 87 of the Act, it is specified that exemption shall cease to apply if such land is not actually used for the purpose for which it has been set apart. When contacted, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said that there was a need to see if the land came under exempted category.
When asked about the Department’s view that compensation should not be given to any land that exceeds the ceiling limit, the Minister said that a decision would be taken only within the framework of law. A high-level meeting on October 1, 2013 decided to acquire land for construction of the health research institute. It is expected to be developed as a full-fledged medical facility and a research centre.