Consensus eluded the UDF sub-committee constituted to go into the Nelliampathy issue, as a meet held here on Tuesday postponed the finalisation of the report against the backdrop of the reports that many of the holdings in the region were not in the original hands.
While the majority of the seven-member panel headed by convenor A N Rajan Babu veered around the view that the complex legal aspects regarding the lease deed deserved more scrutiny, a couple of members stood for a political approach for addressing the issue.
‘’Further probe is essential to establish the veracity of the title deeds. On the basis of this assessment, after examination of various aspects, another hearing will be held from all stake-holders to prove their credentials. The September 26 meet of the committee will finalise the draft,’’ A N Rajan Babu told mediapersons after the meet. To a query, he said that there was no plan to visit Nelliampathy again for the purpose but those who wished to present their case would be free to approach the panel.
He said that there was a suspicion that many of those who had appeared before the panel were not original owners of lease holdings in Nelliampathy, though they had similar names in the deed. ‘’If the suspicion comes true, the entire dimension of the issue may change,’’ pointed out Varghese George, another member, when contacted by ‘Express.’
‘’There is no dispute among panel members. There is a Supreme Court verdict which is bound to protect the interests of the farmers and as such, there is no need for any apprehension by farmers,’’ said Government Chief Whip P C George, who is also a member of the panel.
‘’Lot of allegations on ownership are in the air and the genuineness of it should be gauged properly. There is also a charge that forest laws were not implemented in its spirit,’’ said Rajan Babu.
‘’The committee is of the firm view that whatever be the end result of the Nelliampathy issue, cash crops and ecology should be protected under suitable hands. The agrarian belt cannot be abandoned,’’ said K R Aravindakshan, another member.