THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The controversy over framing rules for regularisation of unauthorised reclamation of paddy land has taken another ugly turn. The law department has alleged that it was kept in the dark while framing the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wet Land (Regularisation of Unauthorised Reclamation) Rules, 2015.
As per the rules, the departments should prepare the draft rules and submit it to the law department, who in turn have to vet it. The draft then goes to the subject committee before eventually the rules are framed. The law department alleged that this process was not followed in this instance. When contacted, Law secretary B G Harindranath said: “I am not aware if the law department knew about the rules. I have not seen the rules.”
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he would examine the issue. Many UDF and LDF leaders and environmentalists have come out against the Revenue Department, saying that the rules would water down the Conservation of Paddy and Wetland Act 2008. As per the new rules, all lands reclaimed till 2008 could be regularised. The government has brought in the rules despite the state not having a comprehensive data bank and it has been alleged that many of the land owners have got their land off the data bank.
With no data bank available, government might find it tough to find out the type of land prior to 2008 as persons who have reclaimed the land in 2015 could claim to have reclaimed it before 2008.