CPM on a ‘land-grabbing’ spree in Kochi

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi published on May 2, 2010

With exactly one year remaining for the CPI-M-led LDF rule to end, the Kerala Marxists are on a ‘land-grabbing’ spree in Kochi where land prices are the highest in the entire State. The communist land-grabbing programme in the name of memorial trusts is being executed with the blessings of the Leftist governing council of the Kochi Corporation.

As part of the programme allegedly for allocating as much land as possible to the party, City Mayor Mercy Williams handed over a letter to the Corporation Secretary instructing actions on war footing to hand over 66 cents of land at Pachalam in the city to the CPI-M-controlled TK Ramakrishnan Memorial Trust. She also asked the secretary to complete the registration procedures for the land in an expeditious manner.

The allocation of the 66 cents of land to the CPI-M-controlled trust is in addition to the LDF Cabinet’s recent decision to hand over 15 cents of land at Boat Jetty, Ernakulam in the very heart of Kochi city on a 30-year lease for a memorial for TK Ramakrishnan, a late leader of the party and a former State minister. The Cabinet had not even asked for permission of the Kochi Corporation when it took the decision.

As per official estimates, land price at Boat Jetty is Rs 70 lakh a cent but the actual commercial value is far above Rs 1.25 crore a cent, say real estate business houses. But this did not deter the LDF Cabinet from allocating this land to the party-controlled trust on a lease of Rs 100 per cent for 30 years.

“Who is going to take back the land after 30 years?” asked Johnson Thomas, a real estate dealer. “Kerala does not have a history of Government takeover of lands after expiry of lease agreement. In effect, the CPI-M has now become the owner of that land,” he opined.

Councilors of the Opposition UDF in the City Corporation say that the ruling side had passed the resolution to hand over the land at Pachalam to the trust in a cunning move. “We had staged a walked out from the council when the budget was being presented on March 30. The LDF used this period of our absence to pass the resolution to help the CPI-M get the prime property free of cost,” said a Congress councilor.

In Pachalam, land prices are officially put at Rs 7-8 lakh a cent but the actual commercial prices hovered over Rs 15 lakh a cent. “Even at Rs 10 lakh a cent, the CPI-M is getting property worth close to Rs 7 crore free of cost. What do you call it if it is not plain land-grabbing by misusing power? However, we are determined not to allow this move,” said the councilor.

The CPI-M’s “land-grabbing” efforts do not stop there. Mayor Mercy Williams has also asked the corporation secretary to do the needful to hand over 4.2 cents of land at Palluruthy for the party-controlled EK Narayanan Trust free of cost. Land prices at Palluruthy are presently hovering over Rs 15 lakh a cent.

Apart from this, the corporation has also decided to hand over the charge of running the Koru Aasan Memorial, a structure in four cents of land at Ponnurunni in the city, to the Koru Aasan Memorial Trust, controlled by the CPI-M. The corporation had bought these four cents from the Greater Cochin Development Authority sometime back. The corporations says that the trust is given the charge of only running it, but Opposition councilors point out that this land also would now be held by the CPI-M permanently.

The CPI-M is already running several hospitals, a water theme park, a mangrove theme park and three television channels among other concerns through party-controlled companies and societies and it is allegedly in the bid for taking over the land of a cooperative spinning mill, the ComTrust, in the heart of the Kozhikode city, for building a five-star hospital as part of the party’s foray into the hospitality industry.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

Latest Articles from Kerala Focus

Did You Know?