India Politics
Call to save Kerala hill station from illegal construction
May 6, 2007 - 8:36:14 PM

Munnar -, May 6 - Kerala Communist Party of India-Marxist - secretary Pinnarayi Vijayan Sunday asked the state government to demolish all illegal constructions in this picturesque hill station.

'Munnar is just not a place for Kerala alone. Instead it is a precious place for the country and if the present illegal encroachments are regularised, it would be sound the death knell of this place,' Vijayan told reporters after a daylong tour of encroached government and forest land in this town situated at a height of 6,000 ft.

'The need of the hour is to appoint a committee of experts to study the topography of the place and decide how and where the construction activities should take place,' he added.

Lashing out at the opposition Congress and leaders of the United Democratic Front -, Vijayan said: 'The maximum encroachments took place when K.M. Mani was the revenue minister -. Several resorts being constructed do not have any sanction. All these illegally constructed resorts have to be demolished.'

Vijayan also named former Congress minister and present UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen, former Congress legislators E.M. Augusthy and A.K. Moni for allegedly helping encroachers.

Vijayan's visit comes a few days after a group of Congress legislators and senior leaders were roughed up by alleged encroachers when they reached here for an on-the-spot study of the situation.

On April 28, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, after a visit to the hill station, said the town had been destroyed by the tourist resort mafia by encroaching upon forest land.

The government had set up an inquiry team headed by Revenue Secretary N.P. Haran, which will submit its report Monday. And the first action came Saturday when 17 revenue officials were suspended for abetting the encroachers.

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