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Call for hartal in Idukki gets LDF support

Call for hartal in Idukki gets LDF support

Thodupuzha: A shut-down call by High-Range Samrakshana Samithi in Idukki district on Saturday has got a boost as the CPI-M led LDF has decided to support the hartal.

The Samithi decided to observe hartal in the hilly district in protest of some of the provisions in the UDF government’s recent order on issuing title deeds.

The Samithi claims that some parts of the orders are imprecise and are harmful to peasants.

Fr Sebastian Kochupurakkal, general convenor of the Samithi, said on Friday that they had decided to call off an earlier plan to blockade Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who would reach in Thodupuzha to attend a title-deeds-issuing event.

In a relief to settlers in highland areas, the government had decided to waive restrictions on transaction of farmland held by them as part of the condition for issuing title deeds.

The cabinet decided to take away the restrictive provision in this regard by amending the rules under the Kerala Land Assignment ACT.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Information Minister K C Joseph said the ceiling set on such land held by each title holder would also be increased to 4 acres from the present one acre.

Scores of settler farmers holding lands in upland areas like Idukki and Wayanad and other high range areas prior to January 1, 1977, which was earlier set as the cut-off date for assigning title deeds, would benefit from the decision.

Significantly, the settler farmers in the highland areas had been on warpath in recent times against the Centre's move to implement the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats conservation, which imposed severe restrictions on land use in the ecologically sensitive areas.

The decision was shelved last week, apparently under pressure from states like Kerala.

(With PTI inputs)

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