New government order could well play into vested interests’ hands, fear foresters

Lakshmi, in a letter, requested the District Collector not to permit tree felling before the settlement process for Kurinjimala Sanctuary is completed.  

Published: 01st March 2019 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2019 03:39 AM   |  A+A-

The misty roads leading to the Kurinjimala sanctuary

By Express News Service

IDUKKI:  After a temporary respite, the Revenue and Forest Departments are locking horns over the government interventions in the proposed Kurinjimala Sanctuary, with Munnar Wildlife Warden R Lakshmi coming out against the Revenue Principal Secretary’s order permitting tree felling here. Lakshmi, in a letter, requested the District Collector not to permit tree felling before the settlement process for Kurinjimala Sanctuary is completed.  

Following the request of Lakshmi, Devikulam Sub-Collector Renuraj directed the Munnar DySP to initiate necessary police surveillance to avoid the tree felling in the area. Earlier, the government had decided to permit farmers to pluck off the eucalyptus grandis trees in order to ensure smooth agricultural activities in the area. However, as per a report of the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Revenue Principal Secretary V Venu issued an order on February 11, revising the permission of plucking off the trees to cut down trees taking into account the environmental impact in massive plucking. 

In the backdrop of the Revenue Secretary’s order, the Forest Department anticipated massive tree felling in the area, which forced Lakshmi to seek the Collector’s urgent intervention in the issue. “The Revenue Principal Secretary’s new order changed only one condition that trees should not be plucked off, but can be cut. However, all the other conditions in the previous order are prevailing. As per those conditions, trees cannot be cut down before the settlement process is completed,” said a top official in the Forest Department.

Devikulam Sub-Collector’s letter said some people have planned tree felling on Revenue land in Chilanthiyar area on March 4. “Sufficient police surveillance should be ensured to protect trees in the area. Police patrolling should be strengthened in Anchunad area from February 27 and utmost vigilance should be taken to ensure trees are not lost from government land,” Renuraj’s order stated.

Kottakkamboor: Notice served on Joice George MP
Devikulam Sub- Collector Renuraj on Thursday sent a fresh notice to Idukki MP Joice George asking the latter to produce documents related to the controversial Kottakkamboor land issue. As per the notice, Joice should produce the documents before the Revenue Department on March 7. This is for the sixth time the Devikulam Sub- Collector is sending notice to Joice with regard to the issues in his land in Kottakkamboor village. Joice  told Express he will cooperate with the Sub- Collector in the matter and his advocates wIl submit the  documents. Joice had secured an HC order that he need not appear in person before the revenue authorities.

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