The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to constitute a Munnar Hill Area Authority to enable the sustainable development of ecologically sensitive mountains in the Idukki district, a major tourism destination in the country.
The state Cabinet took the decision, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Munnar, Devikulam, Marayur, Idamalakkudi, 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.
“The composition of the authority was approved, and a gazette notification will be issued declaring these areas as joint planning areas. A Joint Planning Committee will be constituted to prepare the master plan for the joint planning area,” it said.
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.