THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “The decision to evict long time residents who have been residing in the forest in the name of encroachment is not a right decision taken by the Forest Department,” P K Basheer,
IUML said in the Assembly on Wednesday. He also pointed out that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had contradicted Forest Minister K Raju in the response made by him on the particular question.
Meanwhile, a remark by the forest minister that the UDF government was responsible of providing forest land to the private parties created a flutter in the assembly. Forest Minister said in the Assembly that, encroachments that had taken place after January 1, 1977, was unacceptable. The department will only accept the encroachments that had taken place before 1977.
The Chief Minister interrupted in to say that it is unfair to evict people from lands for which they had been paying taxes for years. “We cannot have a policy where people who had been living in these areas are troubled unnecessarily,” he said.
M K Muneer pointed out that according to the order issued on November 30, the minister has mentioned that 0.02 Ha of land was handed over to Reliance Jio Info Com. Though initially the minister denied the allegation, he later clarified when the opposition leader again raised the issue, saying that only one hectare of land could be sanctioned by the state government and if the land is more than 1 Ha then it should get Central Government’s approval. Hence the land has been provided to the Jio company with central government’s permission.