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June 24, 2011
 
Munnar Encroachers Get Two Weeks To Move Out


http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/government-and-policy/article2132406.ece

24 June 2011

Thiruvananthapuram:
An all-party meeting convened here by the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, on Friday has decided to restore to the State Government all encroached land in the hill resort town of Munnar through peaceful and non-confrontational means.

The meeting decided to allow a grace period of two weeks for encroachers to move out voluntarily from their settlements, the Chief Minister said while briefing newspersons on the proceedings of the meeting.
MASTER PLAN

A comprehensive master plan for an ‘eco-friendly Munnar township' and associated facilities would be prepared for the orderly development of the resort town.

The State Government would seek the services from the best known experts to evolve a road map for the new township without harming the environment.

The Chief Minister also mooted a separate Munnar Conservation Authority that largely dovetails with the concept of the proposed new township.

Separately, he emphasised that the rule of law would prevail in cases where the settlers wilfully defy the spirit of the decisions made on Friday and refuse to move out on their own.

While ruling out a confrontationist approach, he clarified that the Government would much rather seize, confiscate and appropriate to itself pucca structures than go on a demolition spree to “wipe the area clean.”

While implementing the eviction, farmer settlers with meagre holdings or a farm yard would be separated from the well-heeled and business-minded people who have built up hotels, resorts and other big structures.

The Chief Minister announced that the poor and indigent settlers who evict themselves would be given alternate land.

In this respect, he referred to the cases of ignorant and unsuspecting settlers being used by devious land grabbers to ‘front up' for themselves and stop eviction drives. They would go on to push forward their designs to develop resorts and plantations.

The Government would be considerate to the cause of tribal settlers, who would be accommodated in much better shelters than the shanties which they have opted to foist on themselves concurrently.

Significantly, the Chief Minister said that the Government has decided to grant titles to settlers who are in possession of their lands as on January 1, 1977.

It is proposed that the process of distribution of pattas (titles) be completed within the next year, the Chief Minister said.

The Revenue Minister, Mr Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who was also present on the occasion, had extended a commitment to this effect, the Chief Minister added.