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Nelliyampathy estates are Reserve Forest: Govt

Nelliyampathy estates are Reserve Forest: Govt

New Delhi: The State government has informed the Supreme Court that the Nelliyampathy estates in Palakkad district are reserve forests and all the estate owners can only be treated as 'encroachers'.

While hearing the Karappara estate case in the apex court, the government, in an affidavit, has said these estates are forests coming under the ambit of the Forest Conservation Act of 1980.

The Supreme Court last year had found that the Karappara estate was forest land. Following it, the government had cancelled the lease agreement with the controversial Karappara estate at Nelliampathy.

The apex court had also stayed an order of the Kerala High Court directing the village officer of Nelliampathy to issue possession certificate to the Karapara estate, which the Forest Department claimed as reserve forest as per a notification of 1909. The Forest Department officials had said that 25 coffee estates at Nelliampathy were notified as reserve forest in 1909. Of this, 11 abandoned estates were notified as enclosures within the reserve in 1933.

There were 55 estates in Nelliampathy leased out by the erstwhile Cochin State and the Kollengode Kovilakam, totalling an area of 13,200 acres of forestland. After formation of Kerala state all the rights were transferred to Kerala government.

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