THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has reclaimed a prime property in the city given on ‘kuthakapattam’, or long-term lease, to an organisation in 1935. The 34-cent property lies on the byroad behind the Handicrafts Development Corporation building near the Secretariat. Its market value is estimated at over Rs 50 crore.
The property was taken on lease by Hindu Mission, a charitable organisation that became defunct years ago. The rooms of an old building on the property were under the possession of eight persons who claimed to have taken them on rent. The revenue department launched efforts to reclaim the land in 2014.
The Hindu Mission failed to renew the lease agreement when the Assignment of Land Within Municipal and Corporation Areas Rules, 1995, came into effect. As per the rule, all such leaseholders had to submit renewal applications within three months. The Hindu Mission had also defaulted on rent payment and the accumulated arrears was around Rs 60 lakh.
“The leaseholder violated rules. Besides defaulting on rent, the organisation unlawfully sub-leased it. The so-called tenants did not have any contract with the government. Their claims were illegitimate,” said Shaju M S, the Land Records Tahsildar who was in charge of the eviction process.
One of the ‘tenants’, identified as Vasudevan, filed a writ petition in the High Court challenging the department’s notice to reclaim the property. The HC asked the department to conduct a hearing with the petitioner.
As the petitioner could not submit any valid document, the department proceeded with the takeover. All legal formalities including notices and hearings were conducted, the department said.
The revenue department team included deputy tahsildar Ramesh, Vanchiyoor village officer Prabhat and special village officer Vijayakumaran Nair. The officers sealed the compound on Thursday. It is up to the government to decide upon the utilisation of the land.