The final nod for the reclamation of 15 acre of paddy field in Kunnathunadu in Kochi, which is embroiled in controversy, has been given by former Additional Chief secretary P H Kurian just three days before his retirement from service. The Government Order regularising the land reclamation was issued on the last day of his service.
Giving the final nod for issuing the order on regularising the reclamation, Kurian in the note file had remarked thus; “I have gone through the file and arguments of the appellant very carefully. The DC (district collector) has not taken note of the arguments of the appellants at all. From the report of the Tahalsidar and VO, it is clear that the land was converted much earlier, as is evident from the reported fact of standing coconut trees on the land. Hence the proposal of the AS (Additional Secretary), who heard the matter is agreed to issue order accordingly.”
The order has been issued cancelling the earlier order of the Ernakulam Collector who had directed to restore the paddy field.
Along with Kurian, the Additional Secretary is also at the receiving end as he had called the file back and heard the appeal of the appellants and gave the proposal to regularise the reclamation. The Additional Secretary had taken such a stand after the Muvattupuzha RDO and the Ernakulam District Collector had ordered to revert the land. Even the Land Revenue Commissionarate had given a report against the reclamation.
Meanwhile, revenue minister E Chandrashekaran has called for freezing the order issued by Kurian.
A real estate group had brought the paddy field at Manakkakadavu on the banks of Kadambrayar river and later filled the land. Despite strong protest from the local people, the paddy field was filled. In the midst of various protests, the Muvattupuzha RDO had submitted a report to the Ernakulam Collector in 2017 in which he had recommended reversion of the filled paddy field. Based on this report, the collector had issued an order to reverse the paddy land filling.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the CPI, which is a partner of the ruling Left Front, has called for an inquiry into the incident. They have said that the GO was issued in violation of the provisions in the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and Wetlands Act.