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Green Tribunal puts brakes on construction in Munnar, orders not to issue fresh licenses

THE southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has put the brakes on mushrooming growth of alleged illegal buildings in ecologically sensitive Munnar.

Published: 30th May 2017 05:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2017 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: THE southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has put the brakes on mushrooming growth of alleged illegal buildings in ecologically sensitive Munnar.

The bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member P S Rao, ordered the Munnar panchayat not to issue any fresh construction permits without getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the revenue department and statutory consent from State pollution control board under the Air and Water Acts.
The issue has triggered a political storm with the opposition seeking a CBI probe into rampant encroachments. Kerala BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan, who recently called for a complete halt of constructions and sought separate rules aimed at protecting Munnar’s ecology, has filed an impleading petition before the tribunal through his counsel, which was allowed. Also, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar is likely to get impleaded.

The green bench has also asked the Munnar panchayat to submit details of building licenses issued from 2010. The pollution board in its reply filed on Monday alleged that the panchayat was unilaterally issuing licenses without its knowledge. Besides, the tribunal has issued a stay on tree cutting in Cardamom Hill Reserve.

A S Suvitha, special government pleader, told Express that the tribunal has added Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and Devikulam sub-collector, who is the settlement officer, as parties to the case. Additional Advocate General Ranjit Thampan is leading the case for the State of Kerala.
The NGT had admitted the case suo motu and was critical about the State government’s failure to protect the Munnar environment. It has issued notice to the KSEB seeking explanation for giving electricity connection to the illegally built buildings.
The case has been posted for further hearing on August 7.



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