Kerala govt to seize over 830 acres of land from those in violation of Land Reforms Act

15-acre cap for family of 2-5 members; those with over 5 can own max 20 acres, say rules 
Image used for representational purposes only. (Express illustrations)
Image used for representational purposes only. (Express illustrations)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  In an attempt to check ceiling violations under the Kerala Land Reforms Act, the state government has decided to seize a total of 830.274 acres (336 hectares) of land. This will be reclaimed from individuals found to have fallen foul of regulations.

According to rules, a family of two to five members can own no more than 15 acres, while a family of over five can hold on to 20 acres. 

Companies must limit their holdings to 25 acres. The official move will be against violations reported in the last six months. The revenue department has asked the tahsildars concerned to initiate action against violators.

It was brought to the department’s notice that some individuals were buying excess land in villages across the state to avoid the cap. 

Plantations, educational and religious institutions are exempted. Officials said delay in settling cases was the main reason for such contraventions going unchecked.

“If individuals are in possession of excess land they have to report it to taluk land boards. They can approach the High Court to appeal board verdicts. Deputy collectors were entrusted with land board cases, adding to their workload. However, the establishment of four zonal land boards in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, and Malappuram, with their respective deputy collectors as chairpersons, has sped up the process, and this has reflected in the unearthing of violations,” a revenue official told TNIE.

The department feels once thandaper (revenue document) is linked to Aadhaar, giving rise to a unique thandaper, it can obtain details from all 1,664 villages in the state of individuals in possession of excess land. 

“The unique thandaper will ensure a single revenue document for each individual, irrespective of the number of land parcels they own in different villages. However, since the state government cannot compel individuals to link their Aadhaar to thandaper, there is the possibility that they will take advantage of this loophole in the law. This could pose a challenge to the state government’s efforts,” a revenue official said.

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The New Indian Express