THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) has charged that there is a concerted bid within the UDF Government to annex the government land under one pretext or the other, going by the moves in favour of the owners of various estates in Palakkad district.
Parishad president K T Radhakrishnan and general secretary T P Sreesankar said in a statement here on Saturday that there was every reason to suspect that the government was purposely surrendering the cause of the state and deeper eco concerns to the interests of the estate owners, even when many holdings fall under the areas, categorised as Ecologically-Fragile Land (EFL).
The UDF has officially come out against the takeover of estates in the Nelliampathy area and even constituted a sub-committee to study the issue, while urging the government to direct the Forest Department to put all ongoing proceedings on hold.
They pointed out that the committee is headed by Government Chief Whip P C George, whom the Parishad had classified as one who had been steadfast in championing the interest of the estate owners.
The ruse being presented against the takeover of estates is that many of them are getting converted into forests once it was abandoned.
Illegally occupied estates should be administered to become forest land itself but those which are authorised ones and which is being tendered well should be handed over to the Forest Development Corporation or the Plantation Corporation so as to protect the common cause and interests of the employed workers.
Instead of such an approach, move to give attestation to illegal occupants cannot be approved, the Parishad reminded.
The practice of victimising honest officials who had initiated proceedings against the illegalities should also be stopped and they should be protected, the organisation demanded.
The office -bearers said that the Cherunelli estate in Palakkad was sold out in parts violating the clauses in the lease agreement and huge amount of loans were secured from banks. Based on the findings, the Forest Department confiscated the estate. The owners moved the court, which set aside the action on the ground that prior notice was not issued. That procedures were not followed on behalf of the government and it could not be a mere lapse but a clearly motivated ploy to help estate owners, the Parishad feels.
The same approach was evident in the aborted takeover of Ramavarma estate in Nelliampathy, as no prior notice was issued.
In the case of Rosary estate, another holding in the belt, the government counsel had ‘forgotten’ to submit an order issued by the High Court that no notice period was necessary for its takeover, while the trial court insisted on the same clause.
Eventually, estate owners had an upper hand. The UDF move now could be read along with these developments, the KSSP said.