Kerala’s ‘Enemy property’ puts land owners in a soup

For a decade, O M Beerankutty has been running from pillar to post to pay tax for the one-and-a-half acres of land he inherited from his father.

Published: 25th November 2017 11:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2017 09:25 AM   |  A+A-

KOZHIKODE : FOR a decade, O M Beerankutty has been running from pillar to post to pay tax for the one-and-a-half acres of land he inherited from his father Mullamadakkal Assain at Omanoor village in Malappuram as it has been categorised as ‘Enemy Property.’ His faint hopes were further dented when the Centre came up with a proposal asking the state suggestions to dispose of properties falling under the category.

In Kerala, 60 Pakistan nationals own immovable properties, including land worth `1375.22 crore, which are termed ‘Enemy Property.’ Though they are vested with the Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP) under the Union Home Ministry, the legal heirs of the persons who once owned the land have been enjoying the benefits from them.Beerankutty and many others may have to part with them as the Centre has sent a draft to the Kerala government seeking its suggestions on disposing of Enemy Property by renting smaller properties out to state governments and larger ones to the Army and paramilitary forces.

“There are suggestions to sell properties to the state PSUs and Central PSUs looking for land to expand their activities,” said senior revenue officers.When Beerankutty’s father paid the market price and bought the land in 1984 through a real estate agent, he was not aware of the ‘Enemy Property’ tag that came along with it. It belonged to Unnali Haji who had migrated to Pakistan. “My father was duped by a real estate agent. If he knew the property had some legal issues, he wouldn’t have purchased it,” said Beerankutty. 

“We don’t know what to do. We lodged complaints with successive Chief Ministers, but did not receive any favourable reply. I’m not alone. Several others have been dealt a similar blow,” he said.
Records show 21 acres of Enemy Property are lying in 10 villages in Malappuram with a few of them seized by the Revenue Department on the CEP’s behalf.

Senior revenue officers said if the Centre issues new guidelines based on the draft, then it will affect hundreds of families who have been enjoying monetary benefits from these properties despite the CEP being their custodian. Land Revenue Commissioner A T James refused to divulge details of the “really sensitive matter” but said they had received the Centre’s draft on the new proposal seeking suggestions.
As per the details the Ministry of Home Affairs prepared based on a field survey conducted by the intelligence, revenue wing and surveyors, Kerala has the fifth highest valued immovable properties owned by Pakistan nationals after Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Districts top the list of properties
The state Revenue Department records show Malappuram (45) tops the list of number of properties followed by Kozhikode (nine), Kannur (five) and  Palakkad and Thrissur (one each)

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