The Chennai Bench of the National Green Tribunal has cracked down on the alleged illegal buildings in Munnar and has asked the authorities not to give the approval to construct buildings without getting prior sanction from the revenue department. 

The Tribunal has also accepted a petition filed by NDA's Kerala vice-chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, seeking to implead in the land grab case. The bench has directed Chandrasekhar to file a detailed affidavit before the next date of hearing on August 7.

After Chandrasekhar's request to implead, the bench directed the Munnar grama panchayat secretary to hand over the details regarding the NOCs and approvals for construction of buildings from 2010 onwards.

The bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member PS Rao, ordered the panchayat not to issue any fresh construction permits without getting an NOC from the revenue department and statutory consent from the state pollution control board.

The Munnar issue had triggered a political storm in the state, with the Opposition seeking a CBI probe into the encroachments. Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan had recently called for a complete halt of constructions in Munnar and sought separate rules aimed at protecting the ecologically sensitive area.

(Rajeev Chandrasekhar is the Chairman of Jupiter Capital, which has investments in Asianet News Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd that publishes Asianet Newsable.)