It was in 2016 when the Left Government came to power in Kerala that it was decided to take forward a comprehensive survey of the entire Cardamom Hill Reserve, an eco sensitive region in the Western Ghats. But even after three years in office, the Government is yet to take a lead.
Already a sensitive issue and mired by controversies involving illegal land holders, encroachers and politicians, the government is yet to give the final nod for the comprehensive survey. Officials even doubt if the present CPM led Left Government will give the final nod for the survey before the completion of its term.
Highly placed sources said that the delay in embarking on the all inclusive survey was to have more clarification on all details, including the revenue, forest and other lands. Moreover, they said that they want to plug the loopholes so that the survey would never be challenged. However, they noted that all these could have been done in the last three years but the reality was that no one had taken the initiative.
Moreover, they said that the stiff opposition from illegal land holders, plantation majors and encroachers. Apart from this, the government also fears of stiff resistance from the political parties. Whenever the government had taken up any drive of taking back illegally held or encroached lands, especially that was seen in Munnar in Idukki, it had to face an all out resistance.
The sources said that one of the impediments in holding the survey was that there were no proper records of Kuthakapattam (monopoly lease) given to cardamom cultivators. Kuthakapatam lands were also not demarcated in the village records that was also was a major hurdle in differentiating the boundaries in each of the villages. Moreover, these lands have been transferred several times and the present owners are not willing to cooperate with the survey for fear of losing their lands.
The government had in 2016 taken the initiative for a full fledged survey after fake title deeds, illegal constructions and illegal land holdings were unearthed from the eco sensitive hills. The survey was to look into uncultivated leased lands, encroached properties and also lands that have expire lease agreement.
The previous Congress led United Democratic Front during its last days in office had constituted the committee of resurvey.