Kurinjimala sanctuary borders are to be redrawn.
Kurinji habitat

Thiruvananthapuram, April 25: Kerala Cabinet has come up with a work around to the proposal to reduce the area of Kurinjimala Wildlife sanctuary in Idukki district of Kerala.

While settlement areas would be excluded from the notified area, additional forest and revenue land from the surrounding areas will be added to the sanctuary. This will help to retain the overall area of the sanctuary at 3200 hectares. This, it is assumed, will help to avoid objection from Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to reducing the area notified as sanctuary.

The sanctuary notification had excluded lands of all title holders in the notified villages from the Sanctuary.  Still, protests arose over the notification because large areas are in possession of people who encroached upon the government land and planted eucalyptus grandis and other trees.  The Revenue and Forest Ministers had visited the area following the protests and submitted reports to the Cabinet.

The Cabinet decided to appoint an IAS officer as settlement officer for the sanctuary who will consider the claims and settle the boundaries.  The area will be surveyed using drone technology to demarcate pattaya (land with titles) and forest areas. This will be completed before June and the Forest Department will set up markers (junda) to demarcate the forest boundaries.

The Cabinet also decided to amend the Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-forest Areas Act to ban cultivation of eucalyptus grandis and acasia in the area. Leasing of revenue land to companies and agencies for raising forest plantations will be discontinued.

The Idukki collector will be asked to prepare a plan to clear all acasia and eucalyptus plantations in the Anjnadu area comprising of Vattavada, Kottakambur, Kanthalloor, Marayur and Keezhanthur villages in Idukki district in six months. Trees standing on land with title should be cut by the owners themselves within six months. The collector will be authorised to cut and remove them if the owners do not come forward to cut the trees.

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