A proposal to establish an integrated checkpost at Mulli on the Tamil Nadu– Kerala border near Karamadai in Coimbatore district is yet to materialise.
Officials with the Forest and Police Departments, Tamil Nadu, feel that an integrated checkpost at Mulli will ensure better coordination in enforcing restrictions in vehicle movement to and fro Kerala. At present, the two Departments are having separate small checkposts at Mulli.
Forest Department officials said that the proposal for an integrated checkpost was made a few years ago, considering various aspects including vigil against left-wing extremism.
From the point of view of the police, Maoist presence was confirmed in forests in the Kerala side and some of the alleged Maoists were gunned down by the ‘Thunderbolt’ special force of the Kerala police some years ago. The forests of Kerala are contiguous with that of Tamil Nadu in the region. Special Task Force and Naxal Special Division of the Tamil Nadu Police have special focus in Mulli area due to the same reasons, said a police official.
The Forest Department staff deployed at Mulli checkpost enforce restriction to vehicles to and fro Kerala, which was imposed in February 2022. According to the Department, the 60 km road from Mulli to Ooty via Geddai, Kundah and Manjoor passing through forest is meant only for tribal people and local forest dwellers. Also, animals including elephants and carnivores like tiger often cross the road and tourists were causing disturbance to them, before the enforcement of the restriction.
“An integrated checkpost will strengthen surveillance and enforcement of restrictions,” said a Forest Department official.
On Tuesday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a protest in the Kerala side of the border, falling in Palakkad district, against the travel ban by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. Trade bodies and political parties from the neighbouring State have been demanding to open the checkpost as it is the shortest route to Ooty for people from places such as Attappadi, Agali and Mannarkkad in Palakkad district.