Misuse of forest lands will not be tolerated, said the Forest Minister N. Selvaraj while speaking to reporters near Coonoor on Thursday.

Pointing out that the Chief Minister had made it clear that the forests should be protected at all costs, he said that action will be taken to keep reserved forests free of encroachments.

Adverting to his inspection of Kurumbadi, a tribal area below Coonoor, which according to the Geological Survey of India (GSI) had experienced a “debris flood” in the recent natural calamity, Mr.Selvaraj said that a committee headed by the District Revenue Officer would go into the circumstances under which permission had been given to put up a luxury resort in such place.

It will also be verified whether the buildings had been put up on revenue land or patta land. The Committee would submit a report to the District Collector. Until then tourists will not be allowed to visit the resort.

Stating that the promoters had obtained clearance from the Burliar Panchayat during the previous regime, he said that neither had the district administration given permission nor had the forest department issued a No Objection Certificate. It had not been cleared even by the Hill Area Conservation Authority (HACA).

He also inspected flood affected areas like Manthada, Ketti and Bikkatty.

Among those present were the Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran, the Nilgiris Collector Anandrao V.Patil and the Conservator of Forests R. Kannan.

Later Mr.Ramachandran said that the temporary shelters being put up at Ketti for those who had lost their houses in the recent heavy rains and landslides would be ready by December 5.

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