Kerala Cabinet forms Spl authority for Munnar Hill Area Dev
Kerala Cabinet forms Spl authority for Munnar Hill Area Dev

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to constitute a Munnar Hill Area Authority to enable sustainable development of ecologically sensitive mountains in Idukki district, which is also a major tourism destination in the country.

The decision was taken by the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Munnar, Devikulam, Idamalakkudi, Marayur, Kanthallur, Vattavada, and Mankulam areas except Wards 8 and 13 of Chinnakanal panchayat and Wards 4 and 5 of Pallivasal panchayat will come under the Munnar Hill Area Authority, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a statement.

These areas were prescribed in Section 51 of the Kerala Town and Country Planning Act, 2016, it said. The authority, which will be notified soon, will take appropriate decisions in the cases of illegal encroachments and constructions in the hills and protect their ecological features. Munnar, situated 1,600 metres above sea level, was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in south India. Its sprawling tea plantations, picturesque towns, winding lanes, and holiday facilities attract thousands of tourists every year. Neelakurinji, a blue flower that blooms once every 12 years, and grasslands are among the exotic flora of the Munnar hills.

The Cabinet has excluded numbers 8 and 13 wards in Chinnakanal panchayat from the MHA’s jurisdiction. It has included numbers 4 and 5 wards under the MHAA’s domain.

The Cabinet has formed the MHA under section 51 of the Kerala Township and Country Planning Act, 2016. It would notify the MHAA as a joint plan zone in the gazette.

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