Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
This is part of a one-time settlement, the Kerala Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, told the Assembly today.
Replying to questions on the floor of the House, Mr. Antony said when Central Government officials came here for inspection, they found that the land identified by the State Government for distribution had become thick forests and hence they sought a fresh report on the land to be given to the tribals.
The report would be submitted within a month.
He said the Government would take over 7,000 acres in the Aaralam farm and half of it would be distributed to the tribals. The rest would be retained as farm. The Agriculture Department would send a report to the Centre in this regard.
After the Forest Conservation Act 1980 came into force, the Central Government and the Supreme Court were not in favour of giving forest land for any purpose. The Minister for SC/ST Welfare, M. A. Kuttappan, said the Centre had sought the State's opinion on the guidelines for declaring tribal belts as Scheduled regions.
About 50 per cent of the population in these regions should be tribals. Dr. Kuttappan told P. Narayanan that the Government would scrap the system of giving reply to the tribals' petitions in English. But the considered opinion of the Government was that they should learn English.
The Government had not set any deadline for the distribution of land to the tribals. When Mr. Antony made a pact with the tribal leaders, no such condition had been set. The Government was committed to giving one acre each to the landless tribals before the end of its tenure, Dr. Kuttappan said.
Probe: The Government would decide to recommend a probe by the CBI or any other agency into the insurance scam in Matsyafed. A Vigilance probe into the irregularities in the Suzuki engine deal in Matsyafed was progressing.
Two officials had been suspended, the Minister for Fisheries, K.V. Thomas, said.
Meters: The Minister for Electricity, Kadavoor Sivadasan, said in a written reply that two lakh units of power had been saved through load-shedding.
All defective meters would be changed in two years.
Appointed: As many as eight retired officials had been appointed in the Centre for Environment and Development, consultant of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) drinking water project, the Minister for Water Resources, T. M. Jacob, said in a written reply to Kovoor Kunjumon. They are P. M. Mohandas, N. Vasudevan Potti, K. M. Ninan Tharakan, B. H. F. R. Bijili, K. Padmanabhan, P. K. Sahadevan, Padmanabhan Achari and M. N. Rajeevan.
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