The Centre has agreed to depute a team of experts to study ‘encroachment’ of forest land in ecologically sensitive regions of Western Ghats in Kerala, state BJP President Kumanam Rajasekharan said.
Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had agreed to send a team of experts to study the encroachments happening in forest and other ecologically significant places in Kerala, he said.
“They will visit the state soon. We expect that action would be taken based on their report,” he said on the sidelines of a function here yesterday.
Noting that the party played ‘a vital role’ in highlighting the issue of encroachments in Munnar, he said it has decided to take up the “serious issue” of encroachments happening in Vagamon, another tourist destination in Peermade in the high-range Idukki district.
He claimed that Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who held the portfolio of Forest Ministry in the previous Congress-led UDF government, has admitted that encroachments were happening in Vagamon and surrounding areas.
“But no steps are taken by the government so far to evict the encroachers,” he said. Rajasekharan said the BJP will launch “a strong agitation” in Vagamon seeking to throw out the encroachers from government land.
“The state government should act tough on the issue. No one should be allowed to own even a single piece of forest land”, the BJP leader said.
The Union Government had recently sent a team headed by Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C R Choudhary to study incidents of encroachments in the high range Munnar town.
Choudhary, who visited the picturesque tourist spot, had submitted a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Recently, the BJP Kerala leadership had submitted a memorandum to Singh on the Munnar encroachments when he visited Kochi.
The memorandum submitted by Rajasekharan had stated that the situation in Munnar was similar to that of Uttarakhand and had sought the intervention of the National Disaster Management Authority in the matter.