Amid lockdown, illegal buildings sprout in Munnar

Taking advantage of the pandemic-induced lockdown, illegal constructions are being completed in a fast pace in Munnar. Works on some of the buildings that had been issued stop memos are almost over.

Construction activities were reported at Ikka Nagar, Rajiv Gandhi Colony, and MG Colony. As per a preliminary inquiry by the Revenue Department, six illegal constructions were coming up in these sites. Allegedly, buildings were constructed on encroached land and sold using fake documents.

Quick work

As per a High Court order, any construction in Devikulam taluk requires the prior permission of the Revenue Department. Sources in Munnar said that with the double lockdown in force, movement of people was very limited in Munnar. The modus operandi was to encroach a plot and illegally construct a building during days of restricted activity when there was little monitoring by Revenue officials. The extended lockdown period benefited the encroachers, they said.

A temporary shed was erected on encroached land and constructions completed in a short time, especially at night. Attaching properties on encroached land is time-consuming and often encroachers create legal hurdles to the process. A small building may turn into a bigger one in a short time, creating an impression of legality. The encroachers would sell the property at the hill station at an inflated price.

Meet on Monday

Devikulam Subcollector S. Prem Krishnan on Friday said a meeting of the Revenue Department officials would be convened on Monday to take action against encroachers. Those constructions completed despite the issuance of stop memos would be attached, he said. “Only half of the Revenue officials are on duty now and the encroachers seem to have taken advantage of the situation,” he said.

As per a 2017 report of the Revenue Department, 330 buildings, including multi-storey commercial buildings and resorts, were constructed without the no objection certificate (NOC) from Revenue authorities.

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