Idukki: Kerala kick-started its ambitious programme of handing over title-deeds to around 5,500 persons of the high range Idukki district on Sunday.
Speaking at the function to distribute the 'pattayams' (title deeds) at Kattapana, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there was a conscious effort to portray settlers who have been living in the high ranges for decades, as encroachers.
But the state government has the "political will" to protect their land and interests, he said.
Vijayan, however, made it clear that stringent measures would be taken to reclaim government lands from encroachers.
Steps would be taken to distribute title deeds to all deserving persons here in the next two years, he said. "This government does not see settlers as encroachers. There is a conscious effort to depict settlers as encroachers and to create an impression that they are in deep trouble," Vijayan said.
"But, there is no need for settlers to worry. The government will protect their interests completely. At the same time, no mercy will be shown in evicting enroachers," he said.
Stating that the high range settlers and farmers who had fought several odds for their existence, deserve special consideration, the chief minister said the CPM-led LDF government would do nothing to persecute them.
The government has the political-will to protect their land and interest, he said.
The possession of some two cents of land by workers to build a hut cannot be equated with the large scale encroachments made by outsiders here with commercial motive, Vijayan said.
The chief minister's statements assume significance in view of the recent anti-eviction drive launched by the revenue officials which came to a halt after a 30 foot metal cross in an
alleged encroached land was pulled down triggering a widespread controversy.
Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Power Minister MM Mani were among those who participated in the function.
The distribution of title deeds was part of the LDF government's first anniversary celebrations.
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Updated Date: May 21, 2017 14:52:26 IST