KOCHI: They are the ones who were thrown out of their homes for the prestigious Vallarpadam project. But, the hardships didn’t end there. For evictees like Sreedevi Amma from Manjummal, the fight still goes on.
When the elder woman approached the authorities as part of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s Mass Contact Programme held here for the legal right to do transactions on the land provided as rehabilitation by the government, she was met with sarcastic comments.
Similarly, the building plans submitted by Ramani Raphel and Devu Kurumban of Kadamakudy were rejected by the Kadamakudy panchayat secretary the other day citing that their lands falls within the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ).
These are not isolated incidents.
“Hundreds of families displaced as part of the Vallarpadam project have been approaching various government offices clinging to the hope that one day the state government or the district administration will wake up to their miseries,” said V P Wilson, convener of Moolamppilly Coordination Committee.
The state government had offered, under a special package, four cents of land to each displaced families as compensation for land and building acquired for the project and job for a member in each family, depending on his or her educational qualification after the project was commissioned.
“However, even five years after the formal launch of the Vallarpadam Container terminal, the evictees are yet to receive the full compensation amount announced by the state government,” said Francis Kalathungal, general convenor of the committee.
“Besides, 90 evictees were provided four cents of marshy land each but with a rider that the transaction of land will be allowed only after 25 years. This is not only the denial of natural justice but also an infringement on their fundamental rights. With this rider, they cannot even avail loans on the title deeds, forget about the selling the land in case of emergency,” said Wilson.
He added that the promise to reimburse 12 per cent deducted from the compensation amount as Central Income Tax has also not been honoured by the state government. As many as 316 families were evicted from seven villages for the project in 2008.