Govt orders Idukki Collector to cancel controversial 'Raveendran Pattayams'

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has finally decided to cancel the controversial title deeds called 'Raveendran Pattayams' which had triggered a huge controversy during the V S Achuthanandan government’s tenure. New pattayams or title deeds will be issued to eligible people within two months.

It was found earlier that deputy tehsildar M I Raveendran, who held the charge of additional tehsildar in Devikulam Taluk in Idukki district in 1999, had granted illegal pattayams on a large scale. This was detected during a detailed probe when V S Achuthanandan was the chief minister of the state (2006-2011) . He had ordered the eviction of all encroachments on government land.

In the subsequent probe it was confirmed that in various villages under Devikulam Taluk, Raveendran had granted more than 530 pattayams. However, the process of taking necessary action in this regard got delayed due to many reasons.

What the order states

The revenue department issued an order on Tuesday directing the Idukki Collector to cancel pattayams granted under Rule 893 of 1964 Land Assignment Act and 1977 Kannan Devan Hills Rule 21 (1) based on wrong documents or wrong information.

If there are discrepancies, irregularities in Pattayam procedures then the same should be cancelled.

The order issued by revenue additional chief secretary also directs the collector to intervene and make available the copies of the pattayam files and associated documents within two weeks.

What pattayam holders can do

In the event of pattayams being canceled, the owners should submit applications for new pattayams to the Devikulam tehsildar. The district collector has been directed to deploy special teams in each village where Raveendran Pattayams were granted to examine the applications and ensure eligibility for new pattayams. In each village a special team headed by deputy tehsildar comprising two surveyors, a revenue inspector and two special village officers should be deployed for a period of 45 days.

Once the applications for new pattayams are received, the collector should approve the list of persons who are to be given land immediately.

Devikulam tehsildar should take action in a time-bound manner to settle assignment reports that have been received. Assignment committees should also be convened.

All process related to giving land in villages barring Kannan Devan Hills should be completed and new pattayams should be granted to applicants within two months.

Likely issues

The decision to cancel Raveendran Pattayams is likely to further complicate land issues in Idukki district. M I Raveendran, who was the additional tehsildar of Devikulam 24 years ago, had given pattayams for over 10,000 acres of land.

When the pattayams which were approved by the district collector and examined by the taluk land assignment committee are cancelled, there is a possibility of the decision being challenged.

In that case it will lead to other land issues. Legal experts say instead of cancelling Raveendran Pattayams and giving new pattayams, it would be ideal to arrange old pattayams with retrospective effect and be given to the people.

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