Describing encroachments in the tourist spot of Munnar in Kerala as “rape of mother nature”, the High Court on Thursday directed the state government to ensure no constructions are allowed without issuance of an NOC from Revenue department and permits from officials in the town.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice Thothathil B. Radhakrishnan directed that action be taken against encroachments in river perumboke (government land) and restrained construction on shores of rivers and river beds.
It also directed the Revenue and Forest departments to place Action Taken Reports after three weeks on illegal construction and encroachments. It asked the Revenue, Police and Forest departments to ensure that mining of sand, earth or laterite from the town does not take place for two months.
The directions were issued on a petition by an NGO “One life, one Earth”, which complained of illegal encroachments and constructions in Munnar, along with three reports by top government officers, pointing to indiscriminate encroachment and constructions.
The bench said, “the encroachments are a rape of mother nature and the government should ensure that nature is preserved”.
The bench also directed the government to place on record action taken against erring officials, as also preventive action. “Such officers should not be kept in office and the action taken against corrupt officials should be informed to the court,” it said.
Additional Advocate General Renjith Thampan submitted that the government was taking action against bogus pattas (title deeds). About 331 pattas were found bogus and 67 cases booked.
On Wednesday, the court had directed the Idduki Collector to file a report on steps taken to evict encroachers.