Somewhere in Kerala....

Union minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh declared Kannur as the first zero landless district in the country at a special function in Kannur where title deeds were given to 11,106 landless people who were selected from a total applicants of 12,179. Ramesh, who made the declaration on ‘Kerala Piravi’ day and inaugurated the title deed distribution, said it is a great achievement for the state to be able to give three cents of land each to nearly 2.5 lakh landless people in two years.
“I would urge all other states to follow the lead set by Kerala today,” he said, adding that there are around 1.5 crore landless people in rural India. He also said it is not an easy task as limited availability and huge prices were deterrents. He urged all those who have received three cent plot to try for financial aid to construct a house under the Indira Awaas Yojana. “If I get a proposal in this regard from Kerala government, my ministry will give all possible support,” Ramesh said.
Revenue minister Adoor Prakash, who presided over the function, said the flagship programme of the government will be implemented in such a way that the entire state will reach zero landless status by 2015. “This is a rare achievement for Kannur and soon Kasaragod and Idukki will follow suit,” he said.
However, the programme was not without complaints either. Though it was earlier declared that 11,118 would be given land, later it was reduced to 11,106 as it was found that some of the applicants were not genuine. Similarly, the allotment of one acre land each was declared for 85 scheduled tribe families but later it was reduced to 73 as it was found that some of the applicants were found to be fake, which has raised concerns over the transparency of identifying the beneficiaries.
Similarly, there were also complaints that there are many people who are still landless but have not received any land. However, district collector Rathan Kelkar said the announcement for application was made long ago and all the local bodies were informed too. “If there are people who are left out, they will be considered for allotment once they submit an application,” he said.

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