KOCHI: At a time when the government is going ahead with the rehabilitation of the residents of the four apartment complexes in Maradu, which will be razed for violating CRZ norms, families from the northwestern parts of Kochi on Tuesday thronged the PWD rest house to convey their grievances after being rendered homeless for the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) in 2008. The People’s Independent Judicial Commission inquiring into the implementation of the Moolampilly package held its sitting in Kochi and heard complaints from the evictees and their rehabilitation issues.
As many as 326 families from Mulavukad, Kothadu, Cheranalloor, Vaduthala, Kalamassery, Eloor, Manjummel and Edappally were evicted in 2008 for road and rail connectivity to ICTT. The families were granted plots at seven places in and around Kochi of which six were filled land. More than 250 families are yet to get houses and are living in rented houses.
Members of 60 families turned up for the sitting of the commission, which comprises chairman Justice K Sukumaran, vice-chairman Justice P K Shamsudheen and members Professor K Aravindakshan and Fr Romance Antony. “Prima facie, the issues raised by the Moolampilly evictees exist. We will look into the complaints and recommend actions to be taken to see a proper rehabilitation. We have asked the complainants to keep records of complaints they had filed before authorities and courts so that we can take them up further,” Justice Sukumaran said.
Justice Shamsudeen said the evictees claimed that they were denied proper land as part of the rehabilitation package. “Each family was given Rs 75,000 to carry out piling for the construction of houses in allotted land. However, most of the sanctioned plots were in marshy land where construction of houses will require deep piling work. The fund will not be enough for the purpose,” he said.
Another concern raised was regarding the monthly rent residents had received till 2012. “In 2012, the government declared the completion of the rehabilitation process and stopped giving the monthly rent of Rs 5,000. However, the rehabilitation of Moolampilly residents has not been completed even now. Besides, the pieces of land sanctioned at Kothadu, Mulavukad and Thuthiyoor are all marshy land. These places get inundated during the monsoon season,” Justice Shamsudeen said.
The commission also came to know that income tax was levied on the amount received by Moolampilly evictees as part of the rehabilitation package. “The amount sanctioned to them was the compensation amount. It was not their income. How could authorities charge income tax from it?” Justice Sukumaran asked.
Aravindakshan, commission member and former principal of Maharaja’s College, said it is unfair from the part of the government to delay proper rehabilitation of Moolampilly evictees. “On one side, when you are giving Rs 25 lakh each in interim relief to people evicted from apartments in Maradu, justice is denied in this case by giving marshy land to 326 families who donated their land for an infrastructure development project. The Moolampilly issue was handled by three different governments and six different district collectors. But no interest has been shown to find a permanent solution till now,” he said.
Francis Kalathunkal, general convener of the committee for the families displaced by development projects, said some of the allotted plots require CRZ sanctions. “The issues with the Moolampilly rehabilitation process are aplenty. We will raise our voice until a final solution is found.” he said.
Land and compensation
The evictees were to be allotted land for rehabilitation, 4.5 cents if the extent taken over is below 5 cents and 5.5 cents if the area exceeded 5 cents.
The Kerala High Court directed the government to ensure that the plots of land allotted are made fit for putting up A-Class construction, up to the standards of consolidation necessary for putting up a double-storeyed building.
The government sanctioned Rs 75,000 per family for piling work
A member of each family was guaranteed employment; Rs 5,000 assured for each family as rent till their rehabilitation; and a lump-sum of Rs 10,000 as shifting
Rehabilitation sites No. of plots Soil condition
Moolampilly 13 Dredged sand
Kothadu 14 Dredged sand
Vaduthala 89 Dumped laterite
Thykkavu 6 Dumped laterite
Kattathukadavu Road 14 Dredged sand
Thuthiyoor 1 33 Dumped laterite
Thuthiyoor 2 54 Dumped laterite