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Kerala’s CPI-M, Jairam Ramesh in face-off over theme park

New Delhi, July 17 (Calcutta Tube) Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh appears to have rubbed Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) the wrong way by ordering a CPI-M-controlled society to close down a profitable theme park in Kannur district for violating environmental laws.

Ramesh Saturday warned that ‘appropriate action’ would be taken if the CPI-M-controlled society, which runs the theme park built in a mangrove forest, does not shut it down.

The minister’s comment comes a day after the Kannur district committee of the CPI-M refused to close down the park.

Ramesh told reporters here Saturday that the government will have to take ‘appropriate action’ if coastal regulations are violated.

The theme park is run by the Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society in the northern Kerala district of Kannur.

The park has been constructed on tidal flats, mangroves and abandoned filtration ponds. The society had planned shops, observation points and floating restaurants within the park. Bridges, jetties and roads were being constructed near the park and diesel generators had also been installed.

However, the Environment and Forests Ministry last week ordered the park to be closed down following a report by an experts panel, appointed by the ministry, citing ‘serious flaws’ in the park.

CPI-M Kannur district committee secretary P. Sashi alleged Friday that Ramesh was acting at the behest of Congress leader and Kannur MP K. Sudhakaran, who filed a complaint against the park, based on which the expert panel had been appointed.

‘Don’t expect us to shut the park simply on an order from Jayaram Ramesh. He took the decision at the instance of his friend Sudhakaran,’ P. Sashi told reporters Friday and stated that the party ‘was not supposed to take orders from him’.

The ministry’s order says: ‘The inquiry team has found serious flaws. The park is functioning in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 1991. So it has to stop all its activities immediately.’

Sudhakaran Friday alleged that the park, built on encroached riverbed in the Pappinissery panchayat, was threatening the state’s dying natural mangrove forests.

The Environment and Forests Ministry has sought a report on the matter from the chairman of the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority in 15 days.

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