Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran has called upon Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to initiate immediate steps to rollback the Cabinet decision to regularise pre-2005 conversion of paddy fields and wetlands in the state.
In a letter forwarded to the Chief Minister,Sudheeran said that the reasons cited by the government for allowing conversion cannot be approved.
The existing Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008 has already a provision permitting conversion of up to 10 cents in rural areas and five cents in urban areas for construction of houses for the poor and commoners.
“The land data bank formed in accordance with the Act can address complaints,” Sudheeran observed and said that the former LDF Government was guilty of the lapses and delay for creating such a data bank.
“It was reported in the media that the Chief Minister had told the annual meet of District Collectors that the trend of purchasing vast tracts of paddy fields by the affluent sections in the state was very strong and filling-up of such fields will be prevented by all means. The government had also declared that curbs would be imposed on the transaction of paddy fields,”Sudheeran pointed out.
“When the government is following such a policy,what is the purpose of the Cabinet decision,” he wondered. “The decision is a green signal for the land mafia to overcome and misuse laws,” he said.
Sudheeran said that it was wrong on the part of the government to create ground for maneuvering by the land mafia instead of taking corrective measures on the flaws of the LDF Government’s policy. “Even after the introduction of Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008,land conversion was rampant in the state and even after the UDF Government came to power it is continuing,” Sudheeran said.
The government should take effective steps to resume the reclaimed paddy fields and also chart a course of action to cultivate barren fields with the active participation of three-tier local bodies.
The ‘Mahila Kissan Sakthikaran Pariyojana’ should be effectively used to promote women to take up farming,he suggested and hoped that the Chief Minister would be able to lead the state to an agricultural revolution, through proper planning.