THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After nearly a decade, the wrecking ball may come to Munnar once again to give sleepless nights to realtors flouting rules. The Assembly Committee on Environment has recommended the demolition of buildings violating environmental regulations in the hill station.
Apart from razing structures, revenue officers will be asked to stop the construction of commercial buildings going beyond the specified height, says the committee’s first report submitted before the Assembly.
The special report on environmental issues says permission should not be granted to commercial buildings threatening the environment.
As the prevailing building rules cannot be applied in a place like Munnar, the committee headed by Mullakkara Ratnakaran has recommended a separate set of guidelines.
The committee has also suggested retaking land given for agricultural purpose if conditions have been violated. All title deeds should be cancelled if the plot has been utilised for other purposes, says the report.
Another major recommendation is the formation of an Environmental Protection and Development Authority within six months to ensure construction and land utilisation do not harm the environment.
The Assembly Committee on Environment which recommended demolition of buildings violating environmental regulations in Munnar has urged the government to evolve a mechanism for disposing of the waste generated at the hill station. It has sought more funds and packages from the government apart from state-of-the-art technology to combat the garbage menace. If the recommendations are implemented, eucalyptus trees will no longer be planted in the hill station as they pose a threat to the environment.
The Environmental Protection and Development Authority mooted by the committee will have environment scientists and members from green bodies and NGOs, apart from representatives of various departments and government agencies. The panel also calls for an environment protection policy for the hill town.
VS hails proposals
ARC chairman VS Achuthanandan has welcomed the recommendations. The veteran CPM leader, who had initiated the widely debated Munnar eviction drive while in office, said the government should take action against illegal construction as per the November 14 High Court order.
“If no action is taken against encroachments and illegal construction causing damage to the environment, future generations will not be able to live here,” he said in a statement. “In this backdrop, I’ve urged the government to go for an appeal against the High Court verdict to regularise construction of the DLF building in Kochi after imposing a fine.” He also demanded the government to file a civil case to retain the Kovalam Palace as per the Advocate General’s advice.