CR Chaudhary's report suggests strict restrictions on tourism activities in Munnar. Tourists should not be allowed to stay overnight in the hill station.
Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhari, who visited Munnar recently, submitted a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh warning that the hill station would not withstand a natural calamity, thanks to unscientific constructions and intensive tourism activities. The hill station stares at a man-made calamity and is on the edge of a grave crisis, the report said.
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Even though the hill station may not face a disaster as big as the Uttarakhand floods, Munnar might pay a huge price even if it confronted with a calamity of minor proportion, the report warned. The buildings are crammed into small plots and without adequately wide roads on the hilly terrain. If a disaster occurs, rescue personnel would find it extremely difficult to reach the location.
The loose soil in Munnar is not suitable for huge constructions. Deep piling will not ensure the safety of the buildings, thanks to the character of the soil. The report also laments the loss of green cover in the ecologically sensitive tourist destination.
The report suggested strict restrictions on tourism activities in Munnar and recommended that tourists should not be allowed to stay overnight in the hill station. Accommodation can be arranged down the Munnar valley, it said
C R Chaudhari visited Munnar recently to study the situation in the tourism destination following a request by the BJP state leadership.
Kerala State Assembly Subcommittee that looked into the environmental problems of the tourism destination had urged the government to demolish all constructions in violation of environment rules and to revoke land titles issued flouting norms. It also recommended stalling all the ongoing constructions above the stipulated height. There was an earlier recommendation to limit the height of buildings in the hill ranges to three storeys.
The revenue officials recently informed the state government that over 110 resorts are being constructed in Munnar and surrounding areas, flouting norms and land assignment rules. Land encroachments are also on the rise with over 6,000 acres of public land going into the hands of the land mafia.