Joint inspection of site by govt departments fails to resolve issue
For the past 16 years, Yeshoda Narayanan and her family, living on a plot of land inside the Aralam farm in Kannur district, has been fighting a lonely battle for the land title (patta) for the piece of land that they had settled on. The pleas of the family, who belong to the Karimbala tribal community, have fallen on deaf ears all these years.
In 2006, Ms. Narayanan, along with her ailing husband and three daughters, settled on plot number 513 of the Aralam farm during the tribal agitation. However, during the pattaya mela in 2013, they were issued a patta for plot number 566. To their surprise, the land had been already allotted to another tribal family belonging to the Paniya community.
“The issue was raised with the authorities and they asked the family to share the land with us. But they refused to part with the land for which they had received the patta,” she said.
This was the beginning of the ordeal for the family. They knocked on every door and submitted petitions for issue of patta for another piece of land.
Ms. Narayanan said that finally, on the request of the authorities to choose another plot, they requested patta for plot 507. But after years of delay, the authorities refused to issue the title, citing that the land had been earmarked for public purposes.
“We petitioned the authorities to provide patta for the plot of land where we have been living for so long. It was found that a patta had been already issued to another tribal family for the plot. But they never turned up to claim the property,” she said.
In 2018, a joint inspection was carried out by the Tribal Welfare Department and Revenue Department. The revenue officials wrote to the Tribal Welfare Department agreeing to change the patta in favour of the family, she claimed. The Tribal Welfare Department authorities, however, were yet to take any action, she alleged.
Her husband was unable to work due to illness and the three daughters had reached the marriageable age, she said. Recently, the family submitted another petition to District Collector S. Chandrasekar, who promised to address their grievance.
Sreeraman Koyyon, Adivasi Dalit Munneta Samithi State president, said that it was not the only case of tribal families which took part in the agitation and occupied land, not being given the patta. As result, they were unable to receive any of the benefits extended by the State and Central governments or build houses, despite the increasing elephant menace in the farm.
When contacted, Scheduled Tribe Development project officer Jacqueline Shinny Fernandas said, “We are yet to get the petition submitted to the Collector and after receiving it, the case will be discussed with the site manager and studied to understand the reason for not issuing the patta. What happened in this case has to be understood and the issue will be taken up as a special case”.
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