Collector bans non-agricultural activity on wetlands of Kanniyakumari

This comes in the wake of a number of paddy fields and wetlands being converted into housing plots; Kanniyakumari Collector says a survey has been started to assess this

As rapid conversion of paddy fields and wetlands into housing plots in Kanniyakumari district pose a threat to the environment and result in water depletion, district collector M. Aravind has issued an order against non-agricultural activity on wet agriculture lands.

“A no-objection certificate (NOC) should be obtained from the Collector for non-agriculture activities and construction of houses and buildings. Only after obtaining the NOC from the Collector’s office, applications should be submitted to local bodies for permission for construction,” Mr. Aravind said in an order on Sunday.

A helpline, 1077, has been created for the public to lodge complaints against violations in wetlands.

Mr. Aravind told The Hindu that the district administration had started a survey and within two weeks, notices would be issued to violators.

The Hindu, on July 18, had published a report, ‘Kanniyakumari’s paddy fields fall prey to real-estate development.’

Warning of action against those who fill in wetlands and construct buildings, he said buildings constructed without the NOC from the Collector would not get drinking water and electricity connections.

Mr. Aravind said officials had been directed to give permission for non-agricultural activities only after ensuring that the proposed area for development had no irrigation facilities and there was no scope for agriculture in the future. This will apply to canals, channel, lakes, tanks, rivers, poramboke lands, temple and wakf board lands, lands of trusts, public roads and streets.

Mr. Aravind said a circular had been issued to all local bodies to verify whether there was an NOC from the Collector and whether construction activities were done as per the requirement of the town and local planning authorities.

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