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Sriram’s final act? 13 acres of tribal land evicted after 14 years

n what appeared to be a signing-off gesture from Devikulam Sub-Collector Sriram Venkitaraman, Revenue officers on Tuesday evicted around 13 acres of tribal land in Chinnakanal village of Devikulam taluk encroached upon by Zachariah Joseph of ‘Vellookkunnel’ since 2003. 

Published: 12th July 2017 01:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2017 10:29 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

IDUKKI: In what appeared to be a signing-off gesture from Devikulam Sub-Collector Sriram Venkitaraman, Revenue officers on Tuesday evicted around 13 acres of tribal land in Chinnakanal village of Devikulam taluk encroached upon by Zachariah Joseph of ‘Vellookkunnel’ since 2003. 


A team led by Udumbanchola deputy tahsildar removed a temporary shed and a gate during the eviction, which was done a day before Sriram relinquishes his post to assume charge as the State Employment and Training director. The Revenue authorities arrived around 11 am with adequate police and public land protection forces. 


The only objection came from Chinnakanal panchayat president and CPM local leader V X Albin, who left after the officers clarified their stance. It took the team, comprising Chinnakanal village officer Pavithran, three hours to complete the eviction.

The officers said the land (survey no: 82/1) at Muthammalkudi near Chinnakanal Vilakku junction, which spans around 72.45 acres, was earlier occupied by the Forest department and leased out to Hindustan Newsprint Ltd for cultivating Eucalyptus grandis trees. The Revenue Department later reclaimed the land and set aside 51.50 acres in 2003 for allocation under the Tribal Rehabilitation Project. 


While the Revenue Department divided the land into plots and began distributing it to tribals, Zachariah Joseph occupied 11 plots. He constructed a compound wall, fixed a gate and erected a temporary shed on the land. In the ensuing 14 years, the Revenue authorities failed to evict him.“While the government had awarded pattayams (title deeds) to 578 tribals altogether under the project, 142 of them have not got their land even now,” said a Revenue officer seeking anonymity.



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