Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition Congress-led UDF Thursday alleged in the Kerala assembly that there were irregularities in land acquisition for the Malayalam University which, it claimed, was one of the biggest land scams in the state.
The UDF MLAs staged a walkout after Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan turned down their plea to discuss the alleged irregularities.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, who spoke to reporters, after the walkout, sought a probe into the role of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel in the land acquisition.
He alleged that the land acquisition for the university was one of the biggest land scams in recent times.
'The Malayalam University', named after Thunchath Ezhuthachan considered to be the father of Malayalam language, was inaugurated by former chief minister Oommen Chandy at Tirur in Malappuram district in 2012.
The opposition MLAs, raising the issue, protested in the well of the House.
Denying the allegations, Jaleel said the process of land acquisition took place during the previous UDF rule.
The present controversy was created by the land mafia and their agents. The LDF government and its ministers don't have any connection with the land acquisition process.
Everything happened during the UDF rule, he told reporters.
C Mammootty, MLA, gave a notice for the adjournment motion but the Speaker rejected it.
Chennithala said the order for land acquisition was out this month and the Speaker was wrong in denying permission for the adjournment motion.
The issue relates to the acquisition of 11 acres of land in Vettom village at Tirur in Malappuram.
In 2012, the initial plan to acquire 100 acres for the varsity at Athavanad Village in Tirur was dropped following public protest.
Later in 2015, the UDF government issued an order to acquire 17.21 acres of land in Vettom village through the negotiated purchase route.
A sum of Rs 25 crore was disbursed from Education Department for the acquisition of the land in September 2015, Jaleel said adding the then Malappuram collector on February 17, 2016, had convened a meeting of the price assessment committee and had fixed the cost of a cent of land at Rs 1,70,000.
The collector had called for re-negotiation and the price was brought down by Rs 10,000 a cent.
"If we, the LDF government, brought down the price of the land then, how can the opposition call it corruption," Jaleel asked.
According to Mammutty, the actual cost of one cent of the land in Tirur was 'shockingly low', it was Rs 9,000.
We have documents that show that the owners who are now selling the land to the state had actually purchased the land for mere Rs 9,000 a cent, he said.