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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 01 July 2022 10.14 AM IST

Kerala govt order to cancel title deeds triggers row; Minister Rajan justifies

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Revenue Department's recent order to cancel title deeds, allegedly issued illegally in high range Idukki district, has triggered a political row with ruling CPI(M) strongman M M Mani openly expressing displeasure, even as Revenue Minister K Rajan justified it but assured that no one would be evicted from their land over the order.

Indicating that the department would go ahead with the cancellation move, the minister said the order was issued as part of continuation of procedures of a government decision taken in 2019 and its objective was to give authentic title deeds to deserved persons and to cancel those possessed by undeserving individuals.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also came in support of the minister saying that no one would be evicted from their land and new title deeds would be issued after conducting a legal scrutiny.

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 1990s.

The Raveendran title deeds have been at the centre of a political row here since then as critics allege that they have no legal validity as they had been issued flouting all legal norms.

Justifying the decision to cancel them, the minister said those title deeds were just ''useless'' as its holders were facing difficulty to avail loans over the land, sell it or remit tax as the deeds had been issued illegally.

''Raveendran had issued the title deeds illegally overpassing his jurisdiction. The government took the decision to cancel them for the sake of common people. It is not a government which treats the encroachers and the settlers equally,'' Rajan said.

He reiterated that the government's decision was not to evict anyone but to give the deserved persons actual and renewed title deeds. Terming the controversies as ''unwanted'', Rajan said what the government did now was just to speed up the ongoing procedures to give the deserved persons a chance to become the actual owners of their land.

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 CPI(M)'s party office in Idukki had received the title deed as it might have deserved it.

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 under the CPI, the second largest coalition partner in the government, and its minister, Rajan, to explain why such land deeds should be cancelled now. An MLA and former minister, Mani also made it clear that no one would be allowed to touch the CPI(M) party office, located in Idukki, under the Raveendran title deed. ''I do not agree with the decision. It will be dealt with legally and politically. People bought the title deeds by applying and paying money at a fair conducted by the officials. Our party office will remain there itself and no one will be allowed to touch it,'' he told reporters here. The party veteran also said the government order only says to cancel the title deeds and not to confiscate the lands.

As the order triggered a row in the ruling front, the opposition Congress said they had already demanded cancellation of the 'Raveendran title deeds'.

''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.

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TAGS: KERALA, TITLE DEEDS, RAVEENDRAN PATTAYAM, K RAJAN
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