India Politics
Congress leaders roughed up by 'resort mafia' in Munnar
May 3, 2007 - 4:59:57 PM

Munnar -, May 3 - A group of Congress legislators and senior leaders was roughed up by alleged encroachers engaged in illegal construction in this tourist destination when they reached the town for an on-the-spot study of the situation.

A.K. Moni, former Congress legislator from Munnar, was reported to have been badly assaulted by the workers of the resort mafia.

'This is mayhem. All we did was to go there to get a first hand account of the encroachments done by these groups. We were surprised to see that at several places, despite orders from the government to stop all construction, workers were engaged in building activities,' former Tourism Minister and senior Congress legislator K.C. Venugopal told reporters.

On April 28, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, after a daylong visit to the picturesque hill station in Idukki district, said the town had been destroyed by the tourist resort mafia, which had reportedly encroached upon forestland.

'We are really surprised that despite Achuthanandan issuing a stern warning against encroachments, nothing is happening. Above all, we have been brutally manhandled. This is a serious issue,' added Venugopal.

The Congress team is led by former MP Thalaikunnil Basheer and includes a string of senior party leaders.

The government has set up a full-fledged inquiry team headed by Revenue Secretary Nivedeta P. Haran who would be assisted by Inspector General of Police Vijayanand to look into the encroachments.

Munnar, situated at a height of 6,000 ft, has seen several new resorts come up in the area and more are being built, allegedly on encroached land.

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