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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Kerala CM turns the heat on Tata Tea

Kerala CM turns the heat on Tata Tea

July 04, 2007 11:35 IST
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has taken up the anti-encroachment drive on a war footing and was in Munnar on Wednesday to monitor the taking over of 1,300 acres allegedly held by Tata Tea.

The issue of encroachment has gained momentum over the past month when the state forest department issued a notice to the company for possession of excess land of more than 3,000 acres.

The two-month old dispute between the state government and the company is now in court.

The Kerala government issued a show-cause notice to the company around two months back claiming that the beverage company had encroached on forest land, following which Tata Tea filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court.

On June 28, the Kerala High Court restrained the state government from taking over about 3,250 acres of forest land from the Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Private Ltd and Tata Tea at Munnar for two weeks.

Percy Singaporia, managing director, Tata Tea said, "The matter is sub-judice and I don't want to comment on it."

Sources pointed out that the eviction drive was initiated even before Achuthanandan took over as chief minister.

Achuthanandan yesterday said that getting back the land held by Tatas would be a priority to take forward land reform laws enforced in the state three decades ago. He said the retrieved land would be distributed among landless peasants and tribals and used to promote eco-friendly tourism.

He added that this was the beginning of a process to take back about 50,000 acres in possession of the Tatas in Munnar.

BS Reporter in Kolkata