With about 40 Central Public Sector Undertakings and Airports up for sale, the Kerala State government is going to be the big loser as lands worth crores that was acquired by the State for the CPSUs and Airport are going to land in private hands.
The Kerala government had acquired and handed over large sects of land for the CPSUs and even for the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport that has been now put for sale. All these lands have been acquired and handed over for a public purpose. But the tragedy is that all these are now going to private hands, officials with the state government said.
In many of the cases, the State has shed a lot of money as compensation for land acquisition. And all of a sudden, the land and money is now going to fall into the hands of private players, they said and added it was the state government that was at loss.
It was high time that a decision was taken on retaining the lands that were acquired by the state government for various purposes and handed over to the Centre. A political decision should also come forth or the state would be at a loss, highly placed sources said.
With respect to the Thiruvananathapuram International Airport, the state government had already acquired hectares of land in various phases as part of its development and are even now in the process of acquiring more land. All these lands acquired in public interest after paying huge compensation is now landing up in private hands. The Kerala treasury is at a loss as crores of rupees given as compensation for the land acquired in the name of Airport’s development is going to be lost as the property would land in the hands of a private player.
At this instance, they pointed out that no one could ever forget the sale of Kovalam heritage palace and the adjoining land to a private hotel group and all the issues related to it. The State Government had handed over the palace and property adjoining it to ITDC, who had then sold it to a private hotelier as part of disinvestment. Here the state government had lost thousands of crores of rupees as the land is located in a prime tourist spot. Despite all the cases, the land and the palace belonging to the people of Kerala is still in the hands of the Hotel majors.
As with Kovalam Place and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, the axe of sale now hangs over Hindustan Newsprint and HLL life care. Both these CPSUs have been provided land by the state government in prime locations that are now worth crores. And this land will also fall under the centre’s asset monetisation, which means the state government is not only going to lose its prime lands but also the money that it had earlier spent for acquiring land for these CPSUs.
With the Centre deciding to monetise CPSU assets and properties, the officials said that the land and properties of Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) and Hindustan Machine Tools in Ernakulam would be brought up for sale. The officials’ note that as the centre would not be able to sell any of the land as the state government had acquired these lands for the CPSUs and was handed over to them for a particular purpose. The Kerala Land Reforms Act has clearly mentioned that if the lands are sold for any other purpose, then it would be in violation of the provisions of the Act.
The officials also fear of losing the land acquired for IIT in Palakkad and Kanjikode Coach Factory in the long run