Poor maintenance, absence of compound wall and proper security have paved the way for encroachments on Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) land. About 35 cents of land of the HMT division at Kalamassery is now in the custody of the local Ayyappa Seva Samajam. They set up a comfort station for pilgrims during the last Sabarimala season near St Paul’s College. When the season ended, an Ayyappa idol and a five-foot enclosure emerged on the land. The HMT officials are running from pillar to post to get them removed. They alleged that the comfort station was built though permission was denied, even in writing. Sources said that there are efforts to give a communal colour to the issue stating that earlier also the land of HMT was encroached upon by religious organisations.
“With the development the encroachments on HMT land has taken a new turn. Earlier, only corporates made efforts to secure land from the HMT. If encroachments are given a communal twist people think that it is easier to establish their demands. Some people even claim that the idol emerged from the earth after the 41-day prayer,” said CITU leader at HMT, Krishnadas.
He pointed out that officials are facing the consequences of neglecting such kinds of encroachments.
“When they approached us initially we had made it clear that such a station could not be set up there. They ignored our letter. The company has approached the police and the District Collector. We believe that the authorities will take steps to remove the structure from our land,” HMT officials said.
They said that the absence of compound wall and Industrial Security Force has paved the way for such encroachments.
T R Mohanan, local secretary, Ayyappa Seva Samajam, Kalamassery, said that the Ayyappa idol and the enclosure are the evidences to show that they have booked the land for the next season too.
“We have not received any letter from Hindustan Machine Tools saying that such a comfort station cannot be built. The land was developed by us and we maintain it. There are also encroachments made by other religious organisations on the HMT land in the past as well. The company has to get them demolished too,” he said.