The ruling front and the Opposition members on Thursday locked horns in the Assembly over the land acquisition for the proposed Aranmula airport.
Later, addressing a news conference, the Revenue Minister said that the UDF government has done nothing new but only made the provisions more stringent. At the same time it is trying to address the woes of thousands of people with houses constructed on filled-in paddy fields and wetlands.
“Scores of petitions were received on this score during the mass contact programme of the Chief Minister. Without regularisation of such small holdings, people cannot transfer them,” he noted.
On the charge of facilitating large-scale conversion, he said that streamlining the land data bank was meant to address it. Achuthanandan told mediapersons that he had only given directions to the Pathanamthitta Collector on the basis of a memorandum of an MLA but asked later to take care of the ecological aspects before taking such a decision.
The issue snowballed to such an extent that the Assembly had to be adjourned for a day at the end of a war of attrition and slogan-shouting between the Treasury and Opposition benches. An Assembly panel on environment led by C P Mohammed has observed that reclamation of paddy fields and wetland and razing of hills are rampant in the state.
Tabling a report, Mohammed also observed that the Revenue Department officials are not enforcing the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act. “The moves to convert paddy fields in Aranmula will have far-reaching consequences,” he said.