The State government on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that no government sanction had been obtained by the Kannan Devan Hills Plantation for using its nine bungalows in Munnar for tourism purposes.
In an affidavit, the State government said the contention of the company that it was entitled to operate the bungalows for tourism purposes based on the amended provision of the Kerala Land Reforms Act was untenable. In fact, the government had issued certain guidelines on conversion of plantation land for use of tourism purposes.
The guidelines make it mandatory for those who used five per cent of land in a plantation area as per the amended provision to obtain sanction from various authorities such as the district collector, State Land Board, agricultural department, labour department and other authorities.
The beneficiaries of the amended Act should give employment to the locals in the tourism initiatives in the plantation. Besides, only 10 per cent out of the 5 per cent land permitted for other activities could be utilised for tourism purposes. As per the guidelines, the tourism initiatives should be sanctioned by the authorities based on plans and sketches along with appropriate applications made before the district collector and secretary, State Land Board.
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