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Munnar encroachments: HC takes government to task

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday criticised the government for issuing an order providing power and water connections to commercial buildings in Munnar without insisting on NOC from revenue authorities.

The Bench orally observed that such an order would only facilitate unauthorised constructions in the area.

The Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar also observed that it was prima facie of the view that the order by the Power Secretary could not be justified in view of the court’s earlier order.

The court made the observation on a petition filed by the Paristhiti Samrakshana Samiti, Muthalakodam, Thodupuzha, seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against government officials for violating the court’s order on January 21, 2010.

The High Court had then ordered that no construction could be carried out in Munnar without obtaining no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Revenue Department and permission of the panchayat.

When the petition came up for hearing, the court observed that the government was encouraging encroachments by issuing such orders.

Even as the government admitted that there were encroachments and illegal constructions in Munnar, it provided all facilities to these encroachers, the court said. “It is a fraud on the people,” the court observed.

The judges also reminded the government that it was the custodian of the land.

The Bench also directed the State attorney to inform the court whether the government would withdraw the order or defend it

The petitioner pointed out that the government order granting sanction to the KSEB for effecting new service connections in Kanan Devan Hills village, Bison Valley, Chinnakanal, Santhanpara, Vellathooval, Anaviratty, Pallivasal and Anavilasam village without insisting on NOC from the Revenue Department had violated an earlier High Court order.

The court posted the case on August 1 for further hearing.

Source: thehindu.com

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