Kochi: The Kerala High Court Friday directed the state government to clear the encroachment on the forest lands that took place since 1977.
A beach headed by Chief Justice Ashok Bushan and A.N Shafeeque, while considering a public interest litigations filed seeking to evict forest encroachments including those in Munnar, said the encroachers should be given notice within six months and they should be evicted in a year.
“A total of 7000 acres of forest land has been encroached since 1971. The government itself has admitted this in various affidavits submitted in the court. It is the government's responsibility to evict the encroachments and immediate action is required,” the court said.
The bench granted one year time to remove the encroachments.
The government submitted that 7,000 hectares of forest land have been occupied by encroachers.
The PIL was filed in 2002 by Nature Lovers Movement of Thiruvankulam, seeking restoration of forest land from illegal occupants.
The HC also directed government to issue notice to the encroachers under Land Conservance Act and Forest Act.
Appropriate legislations can be made for the purpose, the Court said.