Revised ordinance awaited for Munnar tourism project
Giji K. Raman
KATTAPPANA: The Munnar Tourism Development Authority (MTDA) will start implementing the tourism master plan after the Governor promulgates a revised ordinance to take over land in the hill town and nearby areas.
The original Kanan Devan Hills (Taking Over by Resumption of Certain Lands) Ordinance met with resistance as some residential areas were included in the 400-hectare project area.
The master plan envisages an internationally acclaimed tourism destination, with emphasis on environmental protection. The authority, which was formed on July 24, held its first meeting on August 3.
M. Rajesh, Secretary, Idukki District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), told The Hindu that the State government planned to revise the ordinance.
The master plan stresses environmental protection and successful tourism to improve the lives of the local community. The grama panchayats of Munnar, Devikulam, Pallivasal, Kanthallur, Chinnakanal and Vattavada have been included on the enlarged tourism map.
The construction activities will not interfere with nature. Rules have been laid down for buildings and infrastructure such as roads.
“Munnar already has a prime place on the global tourism map and what is needed is infrastructure development without harming the sensitive environment of the region,” Mr. Rajesh said.
The authority is the nodal agency for facilitating sustained tourism development. The Tourism Director is its chairman and the District Collector, the vice-chairman. The members include the local MLA; the DTPC secretary; the District Environment Engineer of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board; the Forest Conservator (High Range circle); the District Town Planner; and the presidents of the six grama panchayats. The master plan, prepared after a terrain analysis study by the Centre for Earth Science Studies, demarcates environmentally sensitive zones, where constructions are not allowed. The rules for construction govern the height of buildings, structural design, exterior paint and roof. The authority will clear applications for building of resorts or hotels, in consultation with the grama panchayats.