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A case for new district

Sir, — The unscientific measures adopted in the formation of Pathanamthitta district have badly affected the development of Central Travancore. Considering this as the root cause of the backwardness of this area, a proposal for the formation of a new district, ie., Central Travancore district, has been in the air since the late eighties.

The proposal proceeds to include Thiruvalla taluk wholly and parts of adjoining Mallappally and Kozhencherry taluks, the panchayats of Pandalam, Thumpamon and Pandalam-Thekkekkara of the present Pathanamthitta district and Mavelikara and Chengannur taluks wholly and parts of the adjoining Karthikappally taluk of Alappuzha district in the new district with Thiruvalla or Mavelikara as its headquarters.

The new district will have four taluks, namely, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, Pandalam and Mavelikara, and the estimated population would be between 10 and 12 lakhs. It may be noted that a major chunk of the culturally renowned Onattukara will be part of the new district along with the Thiruvalla-Kumbanad NRI belt, which accounts for a substantial inflow of foreign currency.

Apart from other parts of the State, the Central Travancore region has a cultural identity of its own. Moreover, the geographical topography itself makes its identity unique, that it can neither be a part of the hilly Pathanamthitta district nor the "watery'' Alappuzha.

The "Central Travencorean'' spirit is something enjoyed by the people here in all its sense and spirit, which cannot be expressed by mere words.

The formation of the new district would certainly boost the efficiency of administration in the region. Moreover, the five-decade-long urge for the formation of the proposed Pandalam taluk by grouping together Pandalam, Thumpamon, Pandalam-Thekkekkara, Kulanada, Mezhuveli, Nooranad, Palamel and Thazhakkara panchayats can be realised with the formation of the new district.

Manu S. Pillai

Pandalam

* * *

Repeal amendment

Sir,--The Government has, by an amendment to the Kerala Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act, 1959, introduced a "Legal Benefit Fund''. As per the amendment, court fee stamps to the value of 0.5 per cent of the disputed amount involved in appeals have to be affixed on appeals filed before the Kerala Sales Tax Apellate Tribunal from February 16, 2004.

There is already a fee of Rs.500 for appeals being filed before the Tribunal. There is no limit for payment to the Legal Benefit Fund, as it depends on the amount involved in such appeals. It is common knowledge that assessments are not always in accordance with the law. The disputed amount involved in such appeals may be many lakhs and the stamps to be affixed for the Legal Benefit Fund may run into thousands. This hinders a citizen's right to get relief from illegal taxation.

Hence, the Government may please reconsider the amendment.

Philip Mathew

Thiruvananthapruam

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