‘People from distant places finding it difficult to reach the Fort Kochi office’
With a large number of applications for land conversion pending with the Kochi Revenue Divisional Office in Fort Kochi, the call to relocate the office either to Kakkanad or a location in Ernakulam town has got louder.
“This has been a demand being made over several years, and the Revenue Department authorities have not listened to the plea,” said M.X. Sebastian, Vyttila Mandalam president of the Congress. Sources in the Revenue Department too said people from far-flung areas of the district found it extremely difficult to reach the Fort Kochi office. A former Revenue Department official said shifting the office to a more accessible location would help people. Revenue staff members are of the view that it would help if the office was shifted to a more accessible location considering the present traffic conditions in Kochi.
It is estimated that at least 13,000 applications are still pending with the RDO in Fort Kochi for land conversion, department sources said. A total of 27 staff members were transferred out of the Fort Kochi RDO in the second week of August this year. The decision to reshuffle staff came in the wake of complaints of anomalies in which a large number of applicants flagged delay in considering their applications.
The owner of a small plot of land in Poonithura village, near Vyttila, questioned how the land that was physically converted before 2008 found a place in the data bank prepared to prevent conversion of paddy fields or wetlands. The Kerala Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act came into effect in 2008. The 2008 law said paddy fields or wetlands converted before 2008 would be exempted.
The owner of a five-cent property in Poonithura village said he had bought a house in 1990 after it was built in 1985 by the original owner. However, the property is included in the data bank of wetlands and paddy fields. It implies that a long-drawn process is needed to get clearance for the property. Another landowner said around 1.9 cents, which had been converted before 2008, had been included in the data bank. If these properties are out of the data bank, as they should actually be, it would help people get over official formalities and even monetize their property in case of a requirement, he added.
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