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Tuesday, Aug 02, 2005
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Government proposes to seek legal opinion on renewing forest leases to plantations in the State.
This was decided at a conference convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Monday which was attended, among others, by forest officials, people's representatives and owners of plantations.
Leases for more than 14,000 hectares in Idukki, Palakkad and Kottayam districts are about to expire in the State. The leases are in favour of a few hundred persons, including some major estates at Nelliampathy. They are paying only nominal rents for the land.
The Forest Department has recommended resumption of the land considering the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, Supreme Court verdicts and need to have more forest cover in the State. However, several political leaders think that it is impractical to resume the land.
The members of the Assembly and forest officials who attended the meeting
expressed these opinions. The Advocate General pointed out some legal hurdles in the renewal of the leases. Hence, a decision was made to look into the matter in detail. The Government, it was agreed, would have to take a policy decision on the matter soon.
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