Collector T V Anupama nails' Thomas Chandy paddy land conversion

Minister Thomas Chandy on Friday said he would step down if Chief Minister demanded his resignation.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Alappuzha district collector T. V. Anupama has submitted an interim report to Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan on Transport Minister Thomas Chandy’s alleged violation of Kerala Paddy and Wetland Act to widen a road to his property. Though she confirmed that the report had been submitted, Ms Anupama refused to divulge details. “I submitted the report to the government today. It's only preliminary report. A detailed report will follow in two or three weeks,” Ms Anupama told DC. “The government will reveal what the report is all about,” is all she said when more details were sought.

However, top-level Revenue sources said her report had confirmed conversion of paddy. Mr Chandy had perhaps violated a law, which he himself was party to during the 2008 legislation. The interim report, the source said, stated that Marthandam lake, where his hotel is located, was dotted with buoys. But that could not be construed as encroachment. The Collector had used satellite images to come to her conclusions. The report has also called for a comprehensive probe into Mr Chandy’s alleged encroachment.

The charge against the transport minister is that he had illegally reclaimed about five acres of Marthandam Lake, a part of Vembanad Lake, an internationally protected water body under Ramsar Convention. Mr Chandy is also alleged to have constructed a road to his Lake Palace Resort in the Chungam ward of Alappuzha municipality after reclaiming a part of a paddy field. The road was constructed using Rs 22 lakh allocated for the infrastructure development in the nearby fishermen’s hamlet.

The government first directed former district collector Veena N Madhavan to submit the report. After she was transferred, Ms Anupama took over the probe. The Collector had visited Lake Palace Resort as part of enquiry. Meantime, KPCC president M M Hassan, who visited Alappuzha office of Asianet on Friday evening, said Mr Chandy should resign in the wake of the Collector’s interim report.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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