Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh on Friday declared Kannur as the first district in India with 'zero landless citizens'. Under the flagship scheme of the UDF government, 11,103 landless families in Kannur have now become owners of land.
The Zero Landless programme of the UDF was flagged off by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in October 2013. The programme envisages distribution of three cents of land each to 243928 families identified across the State.
Assigning land to over 11,000 families has not been an easy task. The 12.5 acre land in Kayaralam village is fertile, however, a cremation ground lies in the middle of it and the area is divided into 242 similar plots. The scheduled tribes get 1 acre of land while all landless families get 3 cents, says an NDTV report.
District Collector, Rathen U Kelkat told NDTV, "This is a landmark achievement and I am happy that I am part of this. We have to do much more in terms of sanitation, waste management, access around these plots now. I am sure the local administration will do a good job."
Several MLA's boycotted the programme on Friday during which the land title deeds were distributed in Kayaralam, a CPI (M) stronghold. Minister for Revenue, Adoor Prakash told NDTV, "It is LDF's foolishness to boycott today's programme. All this is for the people. This programme is going to be very important for UDF in Kannur".
But there are others in the few villages who are upset with the land distribution, saying they have got infertile land or the they have been given is very far. "I am a fisherman, I have got land 30 Kms away from the coast," says Ratheeshan.
The decision of UDF government to provide 2,43,928 families ownership of land is set to be a significant socio- economic influence within Kerala.
Kannur, known for peasant struggles, has given birth to many famous writers and leftist politicians like AK Gopalan.
(With agency inputs)