THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Revenue Secretary A Jayathilak issued the order to acquire the land identified in Erumeli South and Manimala villages. The Revenue Department issued the acquisition order after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave in-principle nod. After preparing a detailed project report, the state will now approach the Centre to get mandatory clearances from various ministries.
The government had earlier appointed M/S Louis Berger as the consultant to study the project’s techno-economic feasibility and environmental impact.The government order stipulated that the entire cost of compensation will be deposited before a court having jurisdiction over the area, since there exists a dispute over the property’s title.
The compensation amount will be disbursed based on the verdict of the court on the dispute. Gospel of Asia Charitable Trust occupies 2,258.66 acres, having bought it from the Harrison Malayalam Plantation Ltd, which had previously held 2,263.18 acres. The state government had earlier taken a stance that since the present owner of the land and its predecessor have no title of the disputed land, its title vests with the state.
In a 2018 judgment, the Kerala High Court held that the special officer and collector appointed under the Kerala Land Conservancy Act, 1975, do not have the power to decide on the question of title and also ordered that liberty was being given to the state to establish its title by filing a suit before the competent civil court.