THENI: The Kerala government’s digital land resurvey project titled ‘Ente Bhoomi’ has raised concerns among Tamil Nadu farmers residing near the state border. They have urged Chief Minister MK Stalin and Revenue Minister KKSSR Ramachandran to stop the resurvey and ensure the neighbouring state doesn’t occupy areas in TN.
The resurvey that began on November 1 was aimed at identifying and providing land to over three lakh landless families in Kerala. Members of the Periyar Vaigai Irrigation Farmers Association have been protesting against the initiative.
On November 17, the Kerala government installed a board in Aanaikal-Pappamparai area claiming the area belonged to their state. TN farmers refuted this claim and alleged the neighbouring state would occupy large portions of TN if the TN government turns a blind eye to the resurvey.
Periyar Vaigai Irrigation Farmers Association coordinator S Anvar Balasingam said, “The states share boundaries from Kanniyakumari to Nilgiris districts. The governments should form a high-level committee and take up the resurvey under the supervision of a Central observer.
If the TN government acts promptly, we can recover 1,500 sq ft of our land from them. The farmers had met minister Ramachandran on November 4 at Virudhunagar and at the Secretariat on November 13 requesting him to stop the resurvey. However, no action has been taken so far.”
“When the farmers approached Theni Collector KV Muralidharan, the latter said he had received a letter from officials of Alappuzha district of Kerala about the resurvey on November 7. But the work began on November 1. Meanwhile, on November 17, Kerala officials installed a board saying a parcel of land spanning over 80 acres belonged to their government. But the land actually belongs to Devaram village. We have all the relevant documents,” he said.
Balasingam also recalled the incident of the Kerala government placing a container in Cumbum Mettu area for establishing a central excise office in July 2017. “We staged a hunger protest and people from Kerala pelted stones at us. Following this, a joint committee led by Uthamapalayam RDO and Devikulam sub-collector surveyed the land and laid 14 border stones in Navalpalam, Mandisolai and Cumbum. However, within just three days, Idukki MP Joice George and his supporters removed the stones. The then AIADMK government didn’t take any action,” he added.
All Tamil Nadu Farmers Associations Coordination Committee president PR Pandian said the aim of the resurvey is to take over parts of TN land for dumping waste and stealing minerals. District Forest Officer JR Samartha said the governments would discuss the need to form a joint committee regarding the survey. Collector Muralidharan was unavailable for comments.