Thiruvananthapuram: The amendments the UDF government made to Kerala Land Assignment Rules that provided legal status to government land occupied by persons till June 1 2005 were in the interest of Finance Minister K M Mani.
The records obtained by Madhyamam show the amendments were actually suggested by Mani in a meeting held to discuss the issues of title deeds in Idukki district. The meeting, held on May 9, 2012, was presided over by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The minutes of the meeting show Mani had suggested that amendments be made to give title deeds to the encroachers.
The notification of amendment had said 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."
It had said government had received numerous applications for assignment of land in hilly areas from those who had developed the land, cultivated it and are also staying there and that the amendments were made with a view to extend the benefit of assignment to such occupants.
The government, however, revoked amendments after opposition from various quarters, including Congress.