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Kerala holds back NoC for ‘controversial’ forest land

Under attack from the CPI-M led LDF opposition, the UDF government in Kerala today announced freezing of a recent no objection certificate (NoC) to accept tax for 786 acres of ‘controversial’ land attached to a private plantation group near the Nelliyampathi forest range.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy made the announcement in the Assembly when the issue related to the Karuna Estate of Popson group in Palakkad district was raked up by the Opposition in the form of a notice for an adjournment motion.

He said a three-member committee had been formed to look into all aspects, including violation of forest rules, outside pressure and any ulterior motive in issuing of the order by a divisional forest officer.

Asserting that the Government would protect its interest and act only according to law, he said the committee’s report would be placed in the Assembly before the end of the current session, scheduled to last till July 17.

Seeking leave of the House for the motion, AK Balan (CPI-M) alleged it was a clear case of forest and revenue lands being grabbed by land mafia using fabricated documents.

Balan wanted the government to quash the NoC and said it should order a probe to find out how the officer issued such an order.

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