THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : With the charitable institutions, trusts, religious and caste-based institutions and commercial establishments reportedly having excess land to the tune of about 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh acres of land across the state, the government is planning to launch a massive drive for identifying the excess land in their possession and to resume them.
In the case of land given to the public sector units, the government has given directives to take steps to retrieve the land that has not been utilised by the PSUs concerned.
It is learnt that a meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy last week, had directed the State Land Board to identify the excess lands which are in possession with the various charitable institutions, trusts, religious and caste-based institutions and commercial establishments. The Land Board was also asked to initiate cases against those who violated the provisions under the KLR Act and to take steps to resume the excess land that is in their possession.
Highly-placed sources said that Christian missionaries topped the list of those holding excess land, which is estimated to come around 75,000 acres to 1 lakh acres.
Hindu organisations are said to have about 50,000 acres to 75,000 acres and the Muslim organisations are said to be having about 40,000 acres to 50,000 acres of excess land.
The sources also said that the caste-based organisations are estimated to hold excess land to the tune of about 75,000 acres.
Apart from this, charitable institutions and trusts have lands beyond their permissible limits, which is said to come to about 30,000 acres.
However, it is to be noted that the government does not have proper data regarding the land in possession of these organisations, institutions and trusts.
As per the KLR Act, exemption should be availed for the excess land which is being used for any public purpose.
The officials said that most of the charitable institutions, religious/caste- based institutions and others have not yet gained such exemption and they continue to buy lands in different parts of the state. As a first step, the officials are said to have been told to collect details of excess lands in the possession of charitable institutions, trusts, religious and caste-based institutions and commercial establishments.
When contacted, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said that the government’s aim was to resume all public lands from illegal occupiers. With the government moving ahead with the implementation of the Zero landless project, more land is needed for being distributed among the poor landless, he said.