India. UBL land issue: Chief Minister clarifies

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Refuting the allegations that his government had given 20 acres of land to United Breweries Limited (UBL) at a throwaway price in Palakkad district, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the UDF government was only being made a scapegoat.

The land was allotted to the company by the Palakkad Collector in 2013 after it went through a long process dating back to 1971. ‘’The government is now being made a scapegoat in the issue and it is regrettable,’’ he said. All the allegations against the UDF government are not factually correct, he added.

The process of allotting land to Premier Breweries Ltd at Kanjikode started in 1971 when the then Industries Minister N E Balaram, through a telex message, directed the then Palakkad collector to allot land. The Collector had then given 20 acres of land on lease. In 1985, Palakkad Tahalsidar issued a temporary title-deed for the land, Chandy said.

The company, in 1995, merged with United Breweries Limited (UBL). As per the demand of the company, the Collector had taken steps to transfer the land to UBL in 2002. The Collector, in 2003, informed the Revenue Department that the land can be transferred to the company at a cost of Rs 20,000 a cent. And in 2005, the government decided to allot the land. But the company moved the High court against the order stating that the amount was higher. Later, they paid Rs 14.04 crore towards the cost of the land and withdrew the petition. Subsequently, the Palakkad Collector directed the Tahasildar to allot the land to the company.