India Politics
New decree to protect Kerala hill station from encroachers
May 9, 2007 - 4:34:53 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, May 9 - Acting swiftly on alleged encroachers at the picturesque hill station in Munnar, the Kerala government Wednesday decided to bring an ordinance declaring Munnar as a special area.

Speaking to reporters here after a cabinet meeting, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the Communist Party of India-Marxist - government has accepted the recommendations of Revenue Secretary Nivedita P. Haran's report on the encroachment.

'We have decided to transfer the entire revenue officials now posted in Munnar and also appointed a new collector. A special team has been formed and a police team comprising nearly 400 police officials also would be there to get rid of the encroachers,' said Achuthanandan.

For the past two days, police and forest officials have swung into action against rampant encroachment of forest and revenue land by pulling down structures built without sanction.

'A sub committee of six ministers has been formed to assist the special team. They would show no mercy on these encroachers, irrespective of which party they belong to and every illegal construction would be razed down,' the chief minister added.

So far 20 revenue officials have been suspended for abetting the encroachers and soon action would be taken against many others.

'We have got information that a revenue official in Munnar is believed to be the richest person in that area. Everyone would be arrested. We believe in actions and not in preparing reports,' said Achuthanandan.

Political parties from both the ruling and the opposition alliance have visited Munnar and have blamed each another for encroachments.

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

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