This may also be an indication that the Government and the CPI (M) are slowly coming out of the Munnar syndrome whereby the Government exempted encroachments and illegal constructions of political parties from action. (The CPI-M and CPI are still occupying the land and buildings at Munnar on the basis of controversial documents though the order exempting the political parties and religious institutions from action had been withdrawn.) The public outcry over the operations of the land mafia in the State may be forcing some rethinking in the CPI (M).
It is the Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohamedkutty, who himself informed the Assembly that the AKG Centre had carried out the construction without prior sanction from the Town Planning Department. The Department had sought explanation from the AKG Centre on the issue.
The Minister had been taking some bold steps against illegal constructions in recent months including cancellation of permits obtained by big builders. It was only logical that he did not turn a Nelson’s eye at what was happening at the AKG Centre in full public view (see photo).
The A. K. Antony Government had granted the land for the AKG Centre late in seventies for setting up a study centre in the name of A. K. Gopalan, the legendary leader of party. The party, however, was using it as its State headquarters also. Some years back, Youth Congress leader Cheriyan Philip had raised the allegation that the party had annexed more land than been granted to it. This allegation, however, died down and Mr. Philip soon found himself in the CPI (M). The Centre, which houses even an auditorium, lacks sufficient parking space. So, the Town Planning Department will have little reason to allow the Centre to resume the work, whatever are the explanations that could be furnished by the Centre.