Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition on Wednesday accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of bypassing the revenue department to help those who wanted to convert paddy land at Kunnathunadu in Ernakulam.
The issue was raised as an adjournment motion in the Assembly by Kunnathunadu MLA V.P. Sajeendran of the Congress.
He alleged that following the intervention of the chief minister's office, a quick order was issued to regularise nearly 15 acres of land designated as paddy land at Kunnathunadu disregarding the collector's order.
He alleged that in 2006, the then land revenue commissioner Alphons Kannamthanam had allowed the 5.84 hectares of land to be converted on the basis of the land utilisation order.
"However, the conversion did not take place by 2008. Later, the Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act, 2008, came into force. Hence, the land was included in the data bank as paddy land," said Mr Sajeendran.
The owners of the land attempted to convert the land in 2014. However, following the protest from CPM and farmers, the Muvattupuzha RDO submitted a report saying that the conversion was illegal, he said.
"After three years on September 29, 2018, the then Ernakulam district collector issued an order saying that the land be restored to its original condition. The private owner then approached the government against the collector's order and the order was overturned," he said.
He alleged that the owner was a benami of the man who was once described as 'the hated one' by former chief minister V. S. Achuthanandan.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala asked how the then additional chief secretary (revenue), P.H. Kurien, who had initially sent the file to the law department, had quickly recalled it and struck down the collector's order.
Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan, who admitted that the additional chief secretary had recalled the file before the law department could give its opinion, said that after he came to know of the issue, he froze the additional chief secretary's order.
Following his reply, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan refused to admit the motion and the Opposition walked out in protest....