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HC pulls up Kerala govt over Munnar encroachments


Kochi: The Kerala High Court July 17 pulled up the state government over the issue of alleged encroachments in the tourist town of Munnar, saying it was facilitating such activities in the ecologically sensitive hills. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy made the oral observation while considering a contempt plea of an organisation named Paristhithi Samrakshana Samithi, alleging the government was violating an interim order of the court.

Observing that the government was providing electricity and water connections to the buildings constructed on the encroached land, the court said such actions amounted to cheating the public.

On the one side, the government had been saying it was opposed to all sorts of encroachments, but on the other, it provided all facilitation for such illegal acts, the court observed.

The state government, in an affidavit, said it has not committed any contempt of court and claimed it has acted only in accordance with the court's directive.

The government also submitted that electricity is a must for small local traders and commercial activities undertaken by local persons like small tea shops, hotels and workshops.

"The small commercial activity is the livelihood of large number of local persons, who are born and brought up in the locality," the government said.

The court adjourned the matter for further hearing later.

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