K R Ranjith – KANNUR-As the district administration and the Revenue officials hurry up to declare Kannur as the first zero-landless district in the country, the tribal land allocation as part of the project has come up as a major point of dispute.
Though the authorities declared at a press conference here on Wednesday that they had zeroed in on 85 tribal beneficiaries eligible for one-acre land allocation at Aralam Farm Tribal Resettlement Area, as part of the flagship programme of the UDF government, the tribal organisations have questioned the list as it is packed with ineligible persons and even non-tribals.
A list of 87 select beneficiaries prepared by the deputy collector (LR) accessed by the ‘Express’ includes dalit Christians and persons from SC communities.
The deputy collector mentions three of them as ineligible, making the official list one short of 85 beneficiaries. Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) district project officer Mohanan Chettiyar told ‘Express’ that the village and revenue officials would eliminate all the ineligible persons from the list after a screening. As per the latest information, the concerned revenue officials have stuck out 15 names further cutting down the list to 70, he added. The very act of cutting down the list just a few hours before the grand distribution ceremony slated for Friday shows the discrepancies in choosing the beneficiaries of the much-hyped programme.
Meanwhile, Adivasi organisations are up in arms against the list of beneficiaries prepared by the administration for entitlement during the declaration of zero-landless district on Friday. “More than 95 per cent of the 85 persons enlisted for land allocation under the zero-landless programme are ineligible. There are Pulaya (SC), Dalit Christian and even Viswakarma in the list,” M Geethanandan of Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha said.
“There are more than 3,000 applications pending for land allocation at Aralam. The authorities should first consider these applicants and then consider others as per priority and norms,” he added. The representatives of Adivasi organisations had walked out of the people’s committee meeting held at Aralam on Tuesday protesting against the anomalies in the list. “We oppose the very approach of the zero-landless project as it goes against the norms laid down by the land policy of the Centre.”