Politicians have a thick hide. Nothing proves that better that their statements and behavior over Munnar encroachments. The Chief Minister continues to state that all encroachers would be evicted whoever they are. But it is three years since his mission to evict the encroachers began. Meanwhile the area under encroachments has only grown.
None is afraid of the Tatas, said Forest Minister Benoy Viswam two years ago. Revenue Minister K. P. Rajendran also said something similar about Malayalam plantations. But till today, they could not even collect a decent rent on the leases not to speak of violation of lease terms.
CPI leaders unabashedly say that they would stay in quarters given by the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company as trade union leaders. The CPI (M) member of the Assembly challenged even party directive about returning the house he claims to have “rented” from the company.
To divert attention from the continuing encroachments in Munnar, the Cabinet subcommittee made quixotic attempts to break open electric fencing and gates put up by the company and demolish their check dams. Tribals were mobilised in Wayanad to encroach upon allegedly “excess lands. (Well, it was the LDF government which failed to distribute lands to tribals during the past three and half years.)
Instead of evicting the encroachers in Munnar, the actual plan of the politicians is to issue more titles. Like the so called Raveendran pattayams, the politicians and the land mafia would reap the benefits. If at all, some poor get the land, that is not going to remain with them for long.