THRISSUR: With elections round the corner there is no respite for the UDF. Another land scam has hit the Oommen Chandy government, this time in the form of a ‘gift' to controversial godman Santhosh Madhavan.
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A recent order from Revenue department, handing back around 118 acres of land in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts which the Government had attached from a deal involving Santhosh Madhavan in 2009, has kicked up a storm in the UDF with MLAs TN Prathapan and V D Satheeshan lashing out against the order.
The controversial order dated March 2, 2016, which Express has in its possession, had handed over 95.44 acres in Puthenvelikkara Panchayat in Paravur and 32.41 acres of land in Madathumpadi village in Kodungallur taluk, a majority of which are paddy fields, to RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Private Limited for setting up a Hi Tech IT Park subject to constraints including clearance and permission in accordance with Paddy
and Wetlands Act. The order exempted land ceiling limit under Section 81 (3) of Kerala Land Reforms Act,also subject to constraints. “The proposed Hi Tech IT Park would involve an investment of Rs 1,600 crore and 20,000-30,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities,” the Government order noted.
In an open letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, V D Satheesan MLA warned openly that he would not allow the scheme to be implemented. “It is shocking that I was not informed of a 1600 crore magnitude project in my own constituency. As per police reports, the arable lands had been bought out by Santhosh Madhavan under Benami dealings. The land had been attached based on several reports from Village Officers to Land Revenue Commissioners, who had stated that the project was untenable under the provisions of Kerala Paddy and Wetland Conservation Acts. If the project is implemented, it will affect the image of the Government,” he said.
In letters to the CM and KPCC President, TN Prathapan MLA called for a vigilance enquiry on the exact circumstances under which the order was issued. “The land, which has been handed over, has been the cause of much controversy in 2012. Controversial godman Santhosh Madhavan and his accomplices had bought the land from several individuals and handed it over to Adarsh
Prime Properties Ltd in Bangalore. However, the revenue department had opposed the deal when it came for documentation. A detailed inquiry was conducted and the Ernakulam District Collector had ordered that the land, except 15 acres permissible under Land Reforms Act, be attached and transferred to Paravur Taluk Land Board. The company had then approached the High Court which ruled against them. The excess land had been taken over by the Government, the letter says.
No nod Given to Fill Land: CM
T'Puram: The government had not given permission to fill 'even an inch' of land, the Chief Minister said on Tuesday on the controversy surrounding 118 acres of surplus land reportedly given to a company run by Santhosh Madhavan. The land was given for a specific purpose, and any deviation from the conditions would result in the cancellation of exemptions given from the provisions under the Land Reforms Act, Chandy said. A controversy had erupted over the government's decision to return the land to the company RMEZ, under the guise of setting up an IT project. The 118 acres are in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts. ''If there is anything illegal about the project, the government will review the decision,'' Chandy said. KPCC chief’s letter to the govt would be examined, he said.The company's application for establishing an eco-food park had been rejected on the basis of reports submitted by committees headed by the Thrissur and Ernakulam collectors. However, sanction was given when the company again sought permission to set up an IT park.