Thiruvananthapuram/ Idukki: Kerala Revenue Minister K Rajan justified the recent order to cancel several title deeds, allegedly issued illegally in the high ranges of Idukki district, after CPM''s local strongman MM Mani openly expressed displeasure.
Rajan, the CPI minister, assured that no one would be evicted from their land over the order to revoke these revenue documents which came to be called 'Raveendran Pattayams'.
Indicating that the revenue department would go ahead with the cancellation move, the minister said the order was issued as part of the continuation of procedures related to a government decision taken in 2019.
The cancellation has been ordered in order to give authentic title deeds to deserving persons and to cancel those possessed by undeserving individuals, Rajan stated.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also backed the minister saying that no one would be evicted from their land and new title deeds would be issued after conducting a legal scrutiny.
Terming the controversies as "unwanted", Rajan said what the government did now was just to speed up the ongoing procedures to give the eligible persons a chance to become the actual owners of their land.
When asked about former minister MM Mani's criticism over the matter, Rajan said he was not going to give any reply to anyone. He also said the CPM's party office in Idukki had received the title deed as it might have deserved it.
When asked about Mani's criticism over the matter, the minister said he was not going to give a reply to anyone. He also said the CPM's party office in Idukki had received the title deed as it might have deserved it.
MM Mani's challenge
However, Mani said in Idukki that the controversial title deeds were issued to the people at a 'pattaya mela' (title deed fair) conducted by the government after it was approved by a panel headed by the then MLA.
He also wanted the Revenue department and its minister, Rajan, to explain why such land deeds should be cancelled now.
(Rajan is a member of the CPI, the second largest coalition partner in the CPM-led Left Democratic Front government. )
Mani also made it clear that no one would be allowed to touch the CPM party office, located in Idukki.
The CPM party office and a resort have come up on a plot for which the title deed was issued in the name of Mani.
"The party office stood there even before the pattayams were issued," Mani claimed.
"These are illegal land deeds. So each of them should be put under legal scrutiny and those which violated laws should be cancelled. Those issued without violating legal procedures should be acknowledged," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, V D Satheesan told reporters at Kottayam.
Known as "Raveendran Pattayam" in general, the controversial title deeds, which the government has decided to cancel now, were allegedly issued illegally by M A Raveendran, the then Devikulam Taluk Additional Tahsildar, during the rule of the Left government in the late 1990s.
Raveendran was entrusted with the task of issuing title deeds by the then Idukki district collector V R Padmanabhan with an order containing a proviso to exercise all the powers enjoined on the particular post. However, the Revenue Department failed to publish the collector’s order in the gazette to validate it through statutory regulation. As a result, he was legally disqualified to issue title deeds in his additional capacity as tehsildar. The issue snowballed into a controversy after ‘Raveendran Pattayams’ were deemed illegal by special officer K Suresh Kumar, who headed the Special Task Force (STF) for evictions from encroached lands and demolitions of buildings on such property in Munnar in 2007 when V S Achuthanandan was the chief minister.
(With inputs from PTI)