- Establish Environment Management Authority for Munnar in six months.
Bulldozers might take a ride up the Munnar Hills once again with a mission to demolish constructions built in violation of environment rules. If the recommendations of the State Assembly Subcommittee on the environment are taken up in right earnest, the government will have to re-launch Munnar Mission of the previous VS Achuthanandan government in 2006-11 and crackdown on illegal encroachments and illegal constructions in and around the scenic hill station.
Kerala State Assembly Subcommittee that looked into the environmental issues of the famous tourism destination 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.
Related: LDF government restarts demolition drive at Munnar
It is not clear yet whether the subcommittee report point to specific violations. However, it is anybody's guess that the illegal constructions would include numerous resorts came up in the past ten years in the Cardamom Reserve and the ecologically fragile areas surrounding the hill station.
The sub-committee opined that the concerned officials failed to check the illegal constructions in the ecologically fragile hill destination. The land allotted for agricultural needs was diverted widely for other purposes. The violations of land assignment rules should be investigated and land titles revoked in case of violations. It also recommended restrictions on tourist vehicles to check air pollution in the scenic destination known for its verdant tea gardens and Shola forests.
- All tourism activities should be eco-friendly
- No more eucalyptus plantations in Munnar and surrounding areas.
- Formation of Environment Management Authority for Munnar in six months.
In 2007, VS Achuthanandan government launched 'Munnar mission' against the encroachments and buildings constructed flouting norms. Three top IAS-IPS officers were assigned to carry out the operation, and the team demolished many illegal constructions including big resorts. In an operation that lasted over a month, the trusted bureaucrats of VS Achuthanandan a one-month demolished several huge buildings constructed illegally in the eco-sensitive region recovered 15,000 acres of public land from land grabbers
Though it was widely appreciated, even in international media, as a welcome step to protect the environment and to rein in encroachers, the mission ran into political and legal troubles and was met with a roadblock.
The Assembly sub committee's recommendations effectively suggest another Munnar mission to salvage the hill station.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:40 PM IST