Kerala Government's Decision to Use Paddy Fields for IT Park faces Opposition

Reported by

Dr. K.H. Amitha BachanLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

August 5, 2021

Location of Conflict

Puthenvelikkara

Madathumpadi

Ernakulam

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Technology

IT park

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

960

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

52

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Kerala

Sector

Industry

An order by the Kerala revenue department was passed on March 2, 2016, handing over 95.44 acres in Ernakulam's Puthenvelikkara Panchayat and 32.41 acres of land in Madathumpadi village to RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Private Limited (Formerly Adarsh Prime Projects Pvt. Ltd. SEZ owned by controversial Godman Santhosh Madhavan) to set up a Hi Tech IT Park. The land, which consists of paddy fields, which required clearance and permission in accordance with the Paddy and Wetlands Act, 2008. The order also noted that the proposed Hi Tech IT Park would involve an investment of Rs 1,600 crore and 20,00030,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. As per the government order, the deal was exempted from the land ceiling limit under Section81(3) of the Kerala Land Reforms Act. The land, which has been handed over to RMZ, had been stuck in a controversy earlier in 2012. Controversial godman Santhosh Madhavan and his accomplices had bought the land from several individuals and handed it over to then Adarsh Prime Projects Pvt. Ltd (now RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Private Limited)  in Bangalore. The firm is owned by him. However, the revenue department had opposed the deal when it came for documentation. A detailed inquiry was conducted and the Ernakulam District Collector had ordered that the land, where except 15 acres permissible under Land Reforms Act, excess land was to be transferred to Paravur Taluk Land Board. The company had also approached the High Court which ruled against them. Excess land was taken over by the Government. However, in 2016 the land was reallotted to RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Private Limited. There have been a series of protests by local communities against the government move, saying that the affected area includes Thazhamchira wetland. This wetland is a source for fresh water stability in the region, and is also a cattle rearing area for the local people. There are nearly 200 families that directly depend on the wetland. However on 24 March 2016, the government finally backtracked in the wake of strident opposition from several politicians. The same year, a petition was filed before the Muvattupuzha Vigilance Court demanding an inquiry against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash and three others over the alleged corruption in allotment of 112 acre of land to a business firm owned by controversial godman Santhosh Madhavan.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1600

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

March 2016

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Reform Laws, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Revenue Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

RMZ Eco World Infrastructure Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Santhosh Madhavan, Puthenvelikkara

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Dr. K.H. Amitha Bachan

Reviewed By

Dr. K.H. Amitha Bachan

Updated By

Dr. K.H. Amitha Bachan

Edited By

Dr. K.H. Amitha BachanLand Conflict Watch
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