Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Government cracks the whip against encroachment

Chennai, August 4, 2012

Individuals tried to usurp two acres of land at Kovilambakkam Village meant for public purposes

Signalling the end of a struggle lasting more than two decades, the Kancheepuram District administration cracked the whip against attempts made by a group of individuals to usurp prime Government property meant for public purposes.
 Prime property: The land at Sunnambu Kulathur in 
Kovilambakkam Village Panchayat, which was retrieved by the government.

Nearly two acres of land located in the heart of Sunnambu Kulathur in Kovilambakkam Village Panchayat near Tambaram has been the bone of contention of the individuals claiming ownership on the one side and residents trying to protect it on the other. The individuals had been claiming ownership since the late 1980's and even produced land ownership documents a few years ago. More than a month ago, the individuals, who had claimed ownership of the piece of land, installed iron beams and stone posts around the piece of land, in an attempt to fence the property. “We resisted but even the police seemed to be on their side and allowed them to install the beams and posts,” said S. Ganesh of Sunnambu Kulathur. Immediately, the residents, cutting across all affiliations, came together to protect the land which they had been using as a playground for more than four decades. Petitions were sent to the Chief Minister’s cell and also to the Kancheepuram District Collector. 

“Things happened really fast. Spot visits were ordered, revenue records were checked and it was clearly established that the land did not belong to any individual and that it was property of the Government,” said C. Manimaran, a resident and a former Panchayat Union councillor. On July 20, a team of staff from the Revenue Department, along with policemen, reached the spot and removed the iron beams and stone posts and made it clear that none could claim ownership of the land hereafter. Residents burst crackers and distributed sweets to celebrate the Government’s move in coming down hard on land sharks. 

Land value 

Mr. Manimaran said that losing no time, the local body and the district administration should construct a permanent fence around the land and create a park or use the land for any other productive purpose. The value of the reclaimed land was nothing less than Rs. 55 crores, he added. Revenue officials said that the individuals claimed ownership of the land based on a ‘patta’ (land ownership document) issued by the Assistant Settlement Office in Chennai. Further, the individuals claimed that the land was classified as ‘anatheenam’ (unclaimed or no one enjoying ownership). Following clear instructions from the Kancheepuram District Administration, the patta was cancelled and the land was classified as ‘arasu tharisu nanjai’ (Government dry assessed waste land), the officials added. 

Copyright © 2012, The Hindu

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