Court remarks over Munnar eviction rock Kerala assembly

March 13th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 13 (IANS) Proceedings in the Kerala assembly were disrupted Thursday and the opposition staged a walkout protesting the refusal of permission to discuss the state high court’s remarks over the eviction of encroachers in the hill resort town of Munnar. Justice Siri Jagan Wednesday came down heavily on the government over the eviction drive it had launched at the picturesque and tea plantation-rich Munnar last April and said it was a partisan move.

He criticised the government for bulldozing private encroachers while political parties’ offices remained untouched.

The opposition sought leave for an adjournment motion to discuss the judge’s remarks but Speaker K. Radhakarishnan declined.

Before staging the walkout, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy demanded the government come out with a “white paper” on the eviction drive.

The government claims to have recovered 13,000 acres of land by driving out encroachers, he said.

“The people of Kerala wish to know who these illegal encroachers were and I place a demand that you should come out with a white paper listing out how many acres of encroached land was taken from each person,” said Chandy.

The government led by V.S. Achuthanandan had won kudos from the people after it went ahead to demolish illegal encroachments in Munnar in April last year.

However, after demolishing a dozen resorts and recovering close to 10,000 acres of encroached property, trouble erupted when the three-member task force picked by Achuthanandan demolished a portion of the Communist Party of India (CPI) office.

Following this, the demolition drive gradually came to an end.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, who belongs to the CPI, told the house: “We are going ahead with the seizure of excess land in possession of Tata Tea and it appears that you are supporting them and raising all these issues here.”

Chandy hit back by saying that even 10 months after an inquiry by the crime branch of the police, nothing has come out.

“Aren’t you ashamed by the observation made by the court? It is really shameful. You are only talking big but not doing anything positive,” said the opposition leader.

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