Thiruvananthapuram: Cabinet on Wednesday decided to scrap the order issued by UDF government during the fag end of its tenure to accept land tax from Poabs Group for 800 acre Karuna estate at Nelliyampathy.
The UDF Government had taken a decision in March 2016 to accept land tax even as the case pertaining to ownership of Karuna Estate land was pending before court. The first Cabinet meeting held soon after the swearing in of the new LDF government on May 25, 2016 constituted a cabinet sub-committee headed by A K Balan to re-examine all controversial decisions and orders of the UDF Government from January 2016 to April 30, 2016.
The subcommittee found that the decision to accept land tax without the dispute over ownership getting settled was wrong. The government order was issued to help the estate owner. It was based on the subcommittee finding that the government decided to annul the order.
It may be recalled that Poabs Estates had claimed that there was no government land in 846 acre Karuna Estate in Neliampathy. The owners had claimed that the property originally belonged to Kollengode Kovilakom and it was not government lease land.
However, a study conducted by a revenue department team headed by the then collector had submitted a report stating that the land belonged to the government. The estate owners had gone to court challenging the government contention.
Cabinet subcommittee had also found that majority of the orders issued by the UDF Government at the fag end of its tenure were in violation of existing rules and norms. Of these nearly 50 decisions including the major ones like Hope plantations, Karuna Estate, Methran Kayal and Vaikom Chembu had been taken throwing all norms to the winds.
The LDF government had alleged that Chandy government tried to sell off the land belonging to people of the state to corporates. There was a move to sell off lakes, wetlands, paddy fields to private parties. These incujde 378 acres in Methran lake, 47 acres in Kadmakudi, 150 acres in Viakom Chembu 150 acre and 724 acres Idukki Hope Plantation.
Apart from corruption, there are also allegations that the revenue department had abetted reclamation of wetlands by private landowners in gross violation of Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wet Land Act and Ramsar International Treaty for Conservation of Wetlands.
Though the UDF government was forced to withdraw many of its controversial orders, the new government had decided to unearth the reasons behind such decisions.
Advice sought on tennis club lease dues
entrusted additional chief secretary (revenue) to submit recommendations for collecting the lease dues for 4.27 acres of land in the possession of Trivandrum Tennis Club. The previous UDF Government had decided to renew the lease by collecting just 0.2 per cent of the lease dues.
The direction to the additional chief secretary has been given as part of the government decision to review the UDF decision.