Sunday, August 5, 2007

Munnar Land Imbroglio - In Defence of Tatas

The Tatas are one business house in India with a deep sense of social commitment and green leanings when it comes to environment.They have amply demonstrated this in Munnar where they had full stake in Tea plantations till quite recently. They could have easily diverted the land to tourism or hotels in which they are leading players. But they did not want to upset the delicate applecart of environment of this fragile mountain ecosystem They have also involved themselves deeply in the protection of Eravikulam National Park the home of endangered Nilgiri Tahr

Now a conspiracy is being hatched to belittle the contributions of Tatas in Munnar ,Kerala. This has been hatched by vested interests out to "develop" Munnar. Read the recent ad for international consultants to develop Munnar and you have set your sights bang on target.

In 2005 Tata Tea transferred management control of 17 tea estates in Munnar to KDHP in which employees hold a 69 per cent stake. Tata Tea continues to support welfare activities in Munnar such as a high school, a hospital and a complex for disabled people. This shows their deep social commitment.

In an affidavit filed before the High Court of Kerala in March 1999, the state Government had stated that there was no encroachment on the lands which had vested in the Government under the Kanan Devan Hills (Resumption of Lands) Act 1971. Now the sudden volte-face by the Goverment is intriguing.

The Tatas have at no stage willfully occupied or encroached on land that does not belong to them.They have reiterated that they will fully cooperate with any new survey the Government plans, and that the Government is free to take any excess land if the new survey indicates so.

The common man is baffled by this Tata baiting.

26 comments:

Ranjeet Kesavan said...

Yes, no doubt the Tatas have strong social commitment.This Tata baiting By Kerala Marxists while West Bengal is embracing them is real intriguing

Anonymous said...

Why the Kerala Government is indulging in Tata baiting puzzles me. I am a frequent visitor to Munnar and I have observed that they have always supported the cause of environment. Go ahead and do a fresh survey. Take back land if there is excess. This childish ways of Government of Kerala will not do any good to anybody.

KT Raghavan Nair said...

I think things have been blown out of proportion. It is time to do level headed thinking.In its bid to go for a smear campaign the Gov has erred. No goon is goung to believe that the Tatas have usurped lands. C'mon Gov do survey and talk.

Tony Fernadez.Goa said...

This is insane. The Government should concentrate on toning up administration instead of resorting to cheap gimmicks to divert peoples attention from administrative failures

Mathew K James said...

That was a good posting. A real cracker

Anonymous said...

It is great to see a blog like High Range Tidings. It is time the people of Kerala and India as a whole know a fair view of the recent happenings in and around Munnar.

For over a decade, there has been a consistent pressure on the land on account of the tourism boom. This resulted in attempts of unscruplous tresspass into Government land. When such illegal act comes to public eye, which other way to elude - 'Blame it on Tatas' and divert attention. This has been the phenomenon for years and it is a pity that none who are well aware of the truth ever expressed their views and tell the world, 'You got to know Tatas and their contribution, before buying the story of vested interests'. This blog sure is a step forward.

I have been closely watching the developments of the land issues potrayed in the visual & print media and interestingly the truth is constantly eluding for some reason.

It is comedy of errors that the Special Task Force lost its vision in Munnar demolition. Having been in Munnar long enough, they seem not to have found a single acre that the Tatas were alleged to have encroached; inspite of having land documents in hand. I state this as they were able to identify one resort after the other with survey numbers and other details,but could not find a single acre belonging to the Tatas; which is alleged to have tresspassed into not 1 or 2 acres but over 50,000 acres. It is when pressure on bringing out the truth was high, the shameful act of pulling out tea bushes standing on the road side that are 60 to 80 years old and stating that it was an encroachment into the National Highway which every Tom, Dick & Harry know was notified only recently. This was followed by a board removal ceromony and taking over land in possession of the Forest Department, including the commonly known 8th mile shola and vesting the same with the Government. Why is it that these architects of disaster feel that the people of Kerala are all fools.

Media releases would also show that Tatas have been categorically stating that they have not tresspassed or occupied any land that is illegal and in addition have gone on to state that they are willing to co-operate with the State Government to resolve the misunderstanding. Why is it that the State Government continue to elude the the issue of a healthy dialogue and continue to act arbitarily??? One could only attribute this as a case of 'Truth Hurt Syndrome'.

If any one reads through the History of Corporate India, it can been seen without any ambiguity that Tatas are agroup engaged in the highest level of corporate governance. This is clearly translated in Tata Tea's activities in driving the agenda for the preservation & sustanence of the High Range region. It is shameful that a good corporate citizen is being dragged into public foray to cover up the misdeeds of the real culprits and to safeguard the egos of certain persons who should be leading Kerala into the 21st centuary.

It is time to make it clear to such persons who induldge in false propoganda for selfish reasons and with hidden agendas, that people of kerala are not fools. To add and recap the famous phrase of Abraham Lincoln "You can fool some of the people all of the time; and all of the people some of the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time".

Kerala watches.

Parameswaran.M said...

As an old Munnar man I am happy to see the blog. Good depiction of actual facts

Chandran said...

Hi Mohan, I had always wondered at this controversy that is raging.Thanks for the update. I have been a regular visitor to Munnar and participated in the census operations 3 times in the 80s. High Range association was a regular partner then in conservation measures. Tatas cannot change overnight. There is obviously more than that meets the eye in this mudslinging campaign initiated by the outsiders. I congratulate the Tatas for handling the situation cooly and elegantly

Santosh said...

This encroachment drive in Munnar and neighbouring districts is a 'subterfuge' ploy of the ruling govt. to side track main issues that plague them. It is unfortunate that they have resorted to such immature tactics. Already the truth has hit. The two main protagonists have been conveniently transferred. The other pieces will soon fall in place. It remains to be seen if the steam will fizzle out or will this incident fade out like any other.
I admire Tata's handling of this issue. Typically Tata like.

Santosh Kanavalli

Raghavan Rayroth, Calicut said...

Yes, truth will come out in the end. As the saying goes you cannot fool all the people all the time. I hear that before the spirited arguments of Sorabjee the state advocates had no answers. The high court of Kerala gave a stay with out any murmur from the opposition. I am all praise for the gentlemanly ways in which the Tatas habdled the whole issue

Haridas said...

If Tatas or their predecessor company James Finlay & Co.Ltd., UK wanted to encroach land in Munnar they could have done it 50 or more years ago. They did not and will not indulge in any such unethical practice.Instead they were instrumental in converting 100 square kms.of land adjacent to their Nyamakad and Vagavurrai Estates,suitable for plantations into a wild life sanctuary first in 1975 and Eravikulam National Park later.
Are present Kerala Government authorities (Chief Minister included) aware that Eravikulam is the only National Park managed by Govt. and a private sector company? Is it not often reported that Eravikulam is the best maintained National Park in the country? Kudos to sincere wild life wardens (past&present) of the Park, Finlays and Tatas!

Meenakshi said...

This is just one more example of organised land grab under the guise of politics. I am sure the Chief Minister of Kerala is building his retirement fund. The Government wants the land so that beneficiaries will be family and friends of the politicos. The Tatas have done more for Munnar, it's ecology and it's people than 60 years of Governments! Shame on us for taking things lying down.

raju said...

Do you really beleive that an old fossil like VS would be moved by your views.For the school drop out, time has stood still since Punnapra-Vyalar.For him' if it is not "vettinirathhal samaram'it will be 'idichhunirathhal samaram'.The silver lining is, whatever he touches,fails.Let us wait for the 'kuriji' to blossom again; hopefully he would have left the scene by then.The real threat is that he is just a Sikhandi being used as a shield. The mafia hiding behind is waiting for the Tatas to fall,at least in Kerala.

Mohan Alembath said...

Several people from the Tata fraternity have send me emails thanking me for the posting.Hey guys,it came from the heart. The Tatas in Munnar had helped me considerably in running the affairs at Eravikulam National Park. If Eravikulam National Park is one of the best managed and protected areas in India today part of the credit should go to Tatas who went out of their ways to help protect this habitat of the highly endangered Nilgiri Tahr. I can vouch for the concern the Tatas have for the environment. The conspiracy being hatched against the Tatas has to be exposed and nipped.

Mohan Alembath said...

Here is a small incident that occurred in Eravikulam National Park, a few years back, which shows the utmost respect that Tatas have for the environment. The Wildlife Warden, Eravikulam National Park, was on annual leave. When he returned he found to his utter consternation that a grassland in Neymakkad Estate near the Park was planted up with fuel seedlings meant for fuel plantations. The warden took up the matter with local Tata Tea authorities and impressed on them the damage done to the environment. A few phone calls to the top and within hours the estate people pulled out all the seedlings. I am 100% sure that no other company in India would have done this with such alacrity. Hats off to the Tatas for the concern for the environment

Anonymous said...

As it is no one wants to invest in Kerala. With VS's latest sham operation, he has succeeded in hammering in the last nail into the coffin of responsible and environment friendly investments. I hope we can pull back our state from the brink of economic and social ruin.

Anonymous said...

Justice will prevail. The governments evil machinations will be evident to all. Tata's will prevail.

Anonymous said...

During the political movement in Munnar by Kerala Govt. in June/July'07, not a day passed without challanging Tatas for their encroachment of Govt.land. Mr.V.S.Achuthanandan kept on shouting that every thing will be clear to the public once the satellite survey arranged by Kerala Govt. is completed. While making allegations he and his colleagues assured the public that they will show crystal clear proof once the survey details are in place. Now that the survey details are submitted by ISRO to the Govt., is it not the responsibility of the Chief Minister to reveal the facts to his cabinet colleagues and people of Kerala? Surely there is reason for his silence. People are now wondering whether the much talked about satellite survey is not in his favour!! (like his taking over forest land last month!) Or is it that PB(Polit Bureau) gave clear instructions to the Kerala CM to stop his political stunt?
Anonymous.

Rajesh Menon, Cannanore said...

Yes, ultimately truth alone shall triumph. As the saying goes you cannot fool all the people all the time. The Governments should think twice before levelling allegations for cheap political mileage. The Tatas have handled the whole situation in the gentlemanly way that we expect them to be.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Why don't you demand the information about Satelite Survey under the Right of Information Act?

Mohan Alembath said...

The KDHP company in Munnar will be at it very soon. they are waiting in the wings to see what is going to happen

raju said...

Dear Friend,


I want you to recall on old aristocratic Parsee gentleman who patiently kept company for a young female employee of his Company who was waiting on the roadside one late evening until her husband turned up on his scooter to pick her up. The husband fondly recalls being gently rebuked by the old man for making his wife wait for him on a lonely road after dark. The lady was Sudha Murthy and the erring husband, Narayana Murthy of INFOSYS. The kind old aristocratic man, whose name was J.R.D.Tata, is no longer with us but his Company is.

Or recall the instance when officials of TISCO had approached Lalu Prasad Yadav, when he was Chief Minister of Bihar, on some matter which required clearance by the Government. Lalu reportedly said “I know the Tatas do not pay bribes, but can you start some welfare activities in my name”


Or their reputation in the business or bureaucratic circles, among the customs officials, among sundry tax men. The Tatas do not pay bribes. Is it likely that such a company will have many friends among the politicians?

Last year too the ‘Neela Kurinji’ bloomed again in Munnar in its twelve year cycle and the Nilgiri Thars roamed carefree in their last bastion, thanks to the Tatas who much like the old, Parsee gentleman benevolently watched over them. Dark, ominous clouds with all political hues are gathering over the once serene Munnar hills. Orchestrated attempts are being made to tarnish the reputation of the most respected Indian Company who is being welcomed by most countries of the world. But the Kerala Government would prefer the Pharises,Salims or the Lavlins.

Do go through the attachment and Mohan’s blog. You can help in preventing this insidious attempt. Forward the attachment to atleast 10 people with a similar request. They could be strangers. You can even randomly select it from the Blogspot. For example there are over 9700 blogs from Kerala alone listed in blogspot. You can access any blog, click on the Profile of the blogger and then on Kerala. The entire Kerala based blogs on Blogspot are available. Randomly select and send. You could source other domains too. But do act. Netizens can make a difference. May I request that a copy of your mail be endorsed to pottekadharidas@gmail.com. He will keep track of the progress.

I hope to see the Neela Kurinji and the Nilgiri Thars twelve years from now

Regards

raju said...

My last post. This was the email I send to several influential people. The attachment mentioned is Mohan's original posting.Sorry for the confusion,folks.

Mohan Alembath said...

The Tata Group Emerges As The Largest Taxpayer In India

The Tata group has emerged as the largest taxpayer in India for the period 06-07. The group has contributed Rs 15,130.83 crores as tax. This is 10.3% of the corporate tax collected by Government of India.

Anonymous said...

THE WRITER, A BORN KERALITE NEVER THOUGHT OF COMING TO KERALA TO SET UP AN INDUSTRY OR ANY OTHER BUSINESS VENTURE.THIS IS THE STATE OF AFFAIRS OF TATAS IN KERALA, I CAN IMAGINE ABOUT ANY OTHER INVESTOR'S CONDITION.TATAS ARE WELL KNOWN AS ROLE MODEL OF BUSINESS GROUPS TO THE ENTIRE WORLD .BEING ONE OF THE SENIOR BUSINESS MEN IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE, SOME ONE FROM EUROPE ASKED MY ADVISE ABOUT INVESTING
US DOLLARS 250 MILLIONS IN VARIOUS FIELDS IN KERALA.THIS WAS DURING THE MUNNAR DISTRUCTION EPISODE BY OUR CM MR VS. I HAD TO REPLY TO THE PROSPECTIVE INVESTOR TO REFRAIN FROM INVESTING IN KERALA STATING THAT ALL THE BEAUTY AND RESOURCES ONE COULD SEE IN KERALA ARE NOT THAT ROSY. I HAVE POLITLY ADVISED THEM TO WATCH ALL KERALA TV CHANNELS AND CONVINCE THEMSELVS.I HAVE RECIVED A THANKS NOTE FROM THEM BY E MAIL AFTER FEW DAYS.THE POLITICIANS LIKE VS ETC ETC WILL NEVER ALLOW KERALA TO BECOME A SELF SUFFICIANT STATE.IT IS THEIR INTEREST TO KEEP KERALA ALWAYS STUNTED SO THAT THEY WILL HAVE GUNDAS AS THEIR FOLLOWERS FOR EVER.THIS "ISAM" THEY PRACTICE IN KERALA CAN SURVIVE ONLY WITH THE HELP OF GUNDAS AND THUGS.VS SHOULD KNOW THAT, KARLMARX NEVER ADVOCATED BARBERIANISM AND DISTRUCTION OF A NATION'S CAPITAL IN HIS SACRED DOCTRIN.VS AND ALL HIS PARTY MEN NEED TO TAKE HUNDREDS OF LIFES TO UNDERSTAND THE THE ESSENCE OF COMMUNISM.THIS HOOLIGANISM WORKS ONLY IN KERALA AND NO WHERE ELSE.TATAS ARE FAR ABOVE HIS DREAM,IMAGINATION AND REACH.WE NEED TO BLAME ONLY THE VOTERS IN KERALA AND NOT VS.MAY GOD SAVE THIS GOD'S OWN COUNTRY FROM SUCH POLITICAL PROSTITUTES.IT IS HIGH TIME PEOPLE HANDLE THESE POLITICAL SCOUNDERALS ON THE SPOT "APPROPRIATELY". I HAVE SEEN FEW IAS AND IPS SLAVES WALKING IN MUNNAR LIKE KNOWN DESPERADOS.THEY SHOULD DISOBEY SUCH DESTRUCION ORDERS TO SAVE THE STATE FOR THE SAKE OF THE MONEY TAX PAYERS SPENT ON TRAINING THESE CIVIL SERVANTS.WHAT A PATHETIC HUMAN LIFE THEY HAVE DEPICTED.HIGHLY EDUCATED SOULS ARE WALKING AS UNDER DOGS OF ILLITERATES.THIS IS DEMOCRACY ?? IF YES IT IS SHAME TO THE SYSTEM. IT IS HIGH TIME WE CHANGE IT.THE YOUNG GENERATION OF INDIA COMING DOWN THE LINE IN 10 YEARS WILL THROW THIS CHEATS AND THIFES ALIVE INTO ARABIAN SEA.THAT IS FOR SURE.THIS OLD MAN NEEDS TO BE ADMITTED AND TREATED IN A MENTAL ASYLUM.DONT WORRY HE WILL HAVE HIS NATURAL DEATH VERY SOON AND KERALIETS WILL SEE SOME ONE EMERGING FROM AKG CENTRE TO REPLACE VS.HE WILL BE EVEN WORSE.TAKE CARE.LET US CHANGE THIS AND SAVE KERALA.OR IT WILL BE TOO LATE TO CHANGE.
JAI HIND.

raju said...

Recall Mrs.Margaret Thatcher's comments: "It is time that we consigned Communism to where Karl Marx found it,the dark dingy corner of the British Library"