The state government on Thursday deputed a special team led by Vigilance Officer of the Survey Department Biju Prabhakar for a “comprehensive enquiry’ into the continuing encroachments at Munnar and other parts of Idukki district.
Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said in an official release here that the decision to depute a special team was taken after discussions on the report submitted by Idukki Collector on the encroachments. He added that the vigilance wing of the Revenue Department would also participate in the enquiry.
The government had directed collectors and revenue officials to register cases under the Kerala Paddyfield and Wetland Conservation Bill against encroachers at Munnar and other places.
Mr. Prabhakar will be the fourth officer probing the encroachments over the past six years. The first enquiry report was submitted by Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Rajan K. Madhekar on April 1, 2004. Following that P.C. Sanal Kumar, who was Secretary, Kerala Land Use Board, and Principal Secretary (Revenue) Nivedita P. Haran conducted enquiries into the encroachments. However, the government failed to evict most of the encroachers and stem the wave of encroachments at Munnar.
The appointment of the fourth enquiry team comes in the wake of stringent remarks by the Kerala High Court against the government’s failure to check the encroachments and directive to initiate action against the encroachers.