THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ban on trekking in forests in the state has only been temporarily imposed in the wake of forest fire and the government has no plan to permanently shut down eco tourism activities, Forest Minister K Raju clarified in the Assembly on Wednesday.He was replying to a submission by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala about the steps being taken by the government in the wake of forest fire at Theni in Tamil Nadu, and also the recent ones at Vazhachal and Pariyaram forest ranges in Thrissur. Raju said the government has tied up with Central Forest Survey of India to have timely alerts on the mobile phones of senior officials in case any forest fire breaks out.
Monitoring cells have been set up in each forest division as a precautionary measure.
Blaming human activity as the major reason for forest fire, the minister said strict action will be taken against tour operators who plan treks into the forest without the permission of the Forest Department. He added that 30 hectares of forest cover was destroyed in the fire in Thrissur district before it was put out. However, no casualty to wildlife or humans has been reported.