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- Paddy fields converted to housing plots in Kanyakumari's Kalkulam, alleges PIL
The officials who are supposed to prevent illegal conversion of the said agricultural paddy fields have failed to act.
TNN | Aug 10, 2016, 02.00 PM IST
MADURAI: A public interest litigation (PIL) petition before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court said several acres of paddy fields at Kalkulam in Kanyakumari district have been converted into housing plots.
Activists S P Udayakumar and R S Lal Mohan have jointly filed the PIL stating that many irrigation canals passing through paddy fields in the Kalkulam system tank ayacut have been blocked and the lands converted as housing plots. The officials who are supposed to prevent illegal conversion of the said agricultural paddy fields have failed to act. Instead, they approved the layout and granted plan approval, the petitioners said.
They sought a direction to quash the illegal layout, to reopen the blocked irrigation canals, to demolish the illegal constructions on agricultural fields, to restore the paddy fields and irrigation canals to their original condition and to initiate action against the people involved. A division bench of justices Nooty Ramamohana Rao and S S Sundar ordered notices to 15 people, including the secretary of the state housing and urban development, director of the department of town and country planning, the Kanyakumari collector, the public works executive engineer and the superintendent of police.
According to the petitioners, the Kalkulam system tank was spread over 4.3 acres and the ayacut agricultural paddy fields spread over 90 acres. The tank and the fields were a source of livelihood for 10,000 people living in Kaniyankulam, Putheri, Kalunkadi, Puliyadi, Erachkulam and Navalkadu. This ayacut is one of the best productive paddy fields in the district. About 150 tonnes of paddy is cultivated during a single crop and 250 tonnes during the double crop seasons. Sometimes triple crop cultivation is also done.
Pointing to the disappearance of water tanks, they said that as per the 1962 census, there were 3,500 tanks in the district. But in the 1998 census the number had come down to 2,407. Due to this paddy cultivation has come down from 53,034 hectares in 1975 to 22,000 hectares in 2008. And the paddy production came down from 3.2 lakh tonnes in 1950 to 1.2 lakh tonnes in 2008.
The petitioners said the present president of Putheri village panchayat T Lakshmanan Pillai had colluded with real estate mafia and approved a layout without prior approval of the town and country planning authority.
Paddy fields converted to housing plots in Kanyakumari's Kalkulam, alleges PIL | ET RealEstateCommentQuote0Flag