1,000 signatures reached
To: Chief Minister of Kerala
Save 10,000 acres of forests in Nelliyampathis
Dear Chief Minister,
Please ensure forest department uses the provisions of Kerala Private forest vesting and assignment act 1971 and Kerala Land reforms act 1963 and look for grounds to file special leave petition in supreme court for Karuna estates before transferring the responsibility to revenue department. The department should ensure the documents produced by the estate owners are not forged .
Any flaw on behalf of forest department in understanding the provisions of law would mean 10,000 acres of forests are lost to private estates which was part of erstwhile Vengunadu Kovilakam . The outcome of this move would be heavy timber logging and quarrying. This would spell disaster in the ecosystem of Nelliyampathis and eventually affect the water security of drought prone district of Palakkad.
The duty of forest department is to review the documents produced, not provide an NOC without verifying for forgery. There should not be any further delay in filing special leave petition in Supreme Court . No Non-forestry & commercial activity should be allowed in these stretches of Nelliyampathy hills as it is public's property under DOCTRINE OF PUBLIC TRUST PRINCIPLE.
Why is this important?
Nelliyampathy , home to endangered species , Lion Tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr , Nilgiri marten, Hornbill, Nilgiri langur , has one of the richest tropical wet evergreen forests of Western Ghats. Nelliyampathy is located on the south of the Palghat gap and had been under the grip of powerful estate owners since independence. The Nelliyampathy forest area is part of the buffer zone of Parambikulam Sanctuary (western and northern boundaries) . It is also one of the critical habitat of Tiger, Leopards and other carnivores. The density of population of Lion tailed macaque is the highest in Nelliyampathy (much more than Silent Valley ).
Karuna estate belongs to the Poabs group which has the highest stake of quarrying in Kerala and is the producer of m-sand . Once these beautiful hills are given away to Karuna estates, quarrying would become the order of the day.The environment assessment done during the time frame 1990-96, reports that 834 acre Karuna plantations alone had logged over 5000 trees from the land. The same report also mentions that the actual data of logging would be many times higher than the data by Kerala Forest department. Like Karuna, there are other estates who have filed similar cases for land acquisition. Any lapse in Karuna case would weaken remaining cases which would put 10,000 acres of forest land at stake .
Nelliampathy Hill tract has catchment area of Pothundy, Meenkara, Chulliyar, Karappara Puzha, Bharathapuzha, MangalamPuzha and Athirappilly river which provides water security to lakhs of farmers in Palakkad and Trichur districts.
Giving away Karuna estates would mean opening up the hills of Nelliyampathy to powerful estate owners of Kerala for timber logging and quarrying. It is your choice to sign this petition and ensure Nelliyampathy is saved.