Encroachment is rampant on the Western Ghats in the districts of Wayanad, Palakkad, Idukki, and Pathanamthitta, the Western Ghats Protection Samithi has said.

A release issued by John Peruvanthanam and S. Sitaraman, representatives of the samithi, said here on Saturday that encroachments had been reported from Kuttampuzha, Mankulam, Pallivasal, Munnar, Chinnakanal, Kantallur, Marayoor, Noolpuzha, Nelliampathi, Sholayoor, Vechuchira, and Seethathodu. They said the land mafia was behind the act.

The authorities had failed to evict encroachers from over 1,000 acres in Munnar and Vagamon. The encroachment lobby had the support of those opposing the Madhav Gadgil committee recommendations. Drinking water scarcity was severe in many areas owing to destruction of forests and ecologically sensitive regions along the Western Ghats. The State was facing a serious drought and unchecked exploitation of the natural resources would affect biodiversity, he said.