Thiruvananthapuram: In a major decision, Kerala government has made amendments to the Kerala Land Assignment Rules to regularise land inhabited by persons till June 1, 2005 and enable them to get title deeds for the land occupied by them, a move which drew flak from opposition and environmentalists.
The government has incorporated Rule 7B in the Land Assignment Act, which says that "any person in possession of government lands under lease in hilly tracts, whether current or time expired or by way of encroachment not considered objectionable, if occupation of such land completes 10 years on June 1, 2015, will get title deeds."
The government notification said that title deeds would be given upto four acres of land.
An amendment to increase the income limit of persons occupying the land has also been made. As per the new rule, the income limit of the person occupying the land has been increased from Rs one lakh to Rs three lakh to be eligible for title deeds.
The notification said government had received numerous applications for assignment of land in hilly areas from those who had developed the land, cultivated it and also stay there.
The amendments were made with a view to extend the benefit of assignment to such occupants, it added.
Meanwhile, environmentalists and Opposition parties flayed the government decision, alleging that it would abet encroachments, encourage land and quarry mafia.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan demanded that the amendments be withdrawn.
However, Revenue minister Prakash said the decision was not taken overnight but after a long process. The amendments were brought in to help the poor, he added.
Environmentalists lashed out at the government, alleging that the new rules would only legalise encroachment. Green activists pointed out that the new rules could have an adverse impact on the more than 300 encroachment cases filed in different courts.