Thursday, June 7, 2018

Panchayat Department kickstarts public land protection drive

M.S Vidyanandan|May 27, 2018| The Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The Panchayat Department has embarked on a mega drive to protect public land owned by gram panchayats. As a first step, all 941 panchayats have been asked to collect details of public/puramboke land under their limits.Panchayat Department director P Marykutty said public/puramboke land owned by panchayats was facing rampant encroachment. “These encroachments will be evicted in a time-bound manner. Now, we have asked all local bodies to record the details of such land, including encroached properties, in their asset register,” she said.

The local bodies have been asked to update the asset register with full details of the land, including survey number.All public land, except those coming under the Revenue Department, is owned by the local self-government concerned. Ownership of all roads except national highways, state highways and district roads, all public water resources and adjacent non-private land is vested with the local bodies. Public cattle grazing fields, cemeteries and non-Revenue puramboke land are also panchayat properties.The director’s circular warns of strict action against the assignment of puramboke land, especially land lying adjacent to canals and waterways.

“There are a large number of complaints against illegal assignment of public pathways and canal puramboke to private individuals. In several places, encroachment of canal land had caused disruption of water flow and farming activities,” she said.The director said the department does not have data on the extent of land under local bodies, which affects the reclamation of encroached properties.“After updating the asset registers, a centralised database will be prepared. Then, a proper plan will be worked out for evicting encroachments,” she said.The department will ask its inspection wing to check whether all local bodies have updated their asset register properly.

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