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Updated: February 22, 2010 15:44 IST

No move to declare more land under EFL: Minister

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State Forest Minister Binoy Viswam. Photo: Vipin Chandran
The Hindu
State Forest Minister Binoy Viswam. Photo: Vipin Chandran

The State government on Monday made it clear that there was no move to declare more lands in three taluks in Idukki district under Ecologically Fragile Vesting and Management Act.

Addressing a press conference here, State Forest Minister Binoy Viswam asked the farmers of Devikulam, Udumbanchola and Peerumedu taluks in Idukki district to call off their hartal scheduled to be held on Tuesday, as the government had not even considered declaring these taluks as Ecologocially Fragile Land.

A campaign contrary to this by some vested interests was with a view to creating confusion, he said.

The row over the issue has been triggered based on certain references made by Revenue Principal Secretary Niveditha P. Haran in a report about encroachments in Munnar. The report had also recommended measures to evict encroachers.

Opposition leader Oommen Chandy had stated on Sunday that thousands of farmers in Idukki were facing the threat of eviction following the “illegal” move by the government.

Mr. Viswam said the government had declared more than 13,000 hectares, including 1,255 hectares in these three taluks in Idukki District, as eclogically fragile and “no more land in these taluks will be brought under the act”, which put restriction on construction and other activities in these lands.

Kerala Forest (Ecologically Fragile Vesting and Management) Act came into force in 2005 and its main objective was to protect environment and biodiversity.

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