Idukki MP Joice George and 25 others were today booked for allegedly blocking the vehicle of Kerala forest minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan during a visit to Mamalakkandam near Adimali, police said. The case was registered on the basis of media reports about the incident which occurred yesterday, police said.
Radhakrishnan had gone to the spot to talk and settle the stir by local protesters against removal of side slabs on a culvert on a key road in the area by Forest Department, causing hardship to local residents, mostly tribals and settlers. The agitation was led by George, who was elected to the Lok Sabha as an LDFbacked independent.
As soon as the minister reached the spot, his car was blocked by protesters who allegedly heckled and jeered him. Besides George, 25 unidentified persons had been listed as accused in the FIR lodged at the Adimali police station,police said.
Coming down heavily on Idukki MP Joyce George Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that Government would not permit any illegal activities ventured under the cover of Tribal rights in Idukki. Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Radhakrishnan, however, said that Government will satisfactorily settle the issues being faced by Tribals in the two tribal colonies in Mamalakkandam.
Launching a scathing attack against Joyce, he said that they (Joyce and team) wanted the tribal issues to continue forever. ‘Their objective is to detenue the Tribals and to stir up their issues as a protective wall for their (Joyce and team) activities, which cannot be taken for granted,’ he said. Minister also alleged that he has already received several complaints regarding the attempts of tribal lands are being ripped off by offering tobacco and other offerings.
‘I took a direct account of the issues being faced by tribal people living in the area and decided to allocate Rs. 50 lakhs each for two colonies. The projects will be finalised in consultation with the Oorukkottam (tribal council) or Forest Protection committees,’ he said. Pointing out the issues regarding ElamblasseriAavarukutty road and the five culverts constructed along the way, minister alleged that Joyce was intimidating the Government system to get the things done, which would not be allowed at any cost. ‘
There are some technical difficulties in permitting the construction of the culverts at eight meter width. As per the issues pointed out by the local MLA, T U Kuruvila, the Government had decided to allocate One acre land for the construction of road. The government took the decision by overlooking some existing rules as the road will be beneficial for Adivasis there. However, as many as 4.75 acres of land is still needed for the road, for which special sanction is mandatory from the regional office of the Ministry of Environment and Forest at Bangalore.
The State government has a favourable stance to recommend the MoEF for the same. Ignoring these technicalities, Joyce was trying get the sanctioning by intimidating the Government machineries,’ he said. ‘It is not fair for a people’s representative to waylay a minister and force the government to give sanction on the spot. It was preplanned act plotted solely by Joyce alone.
His acts were immature and he did not keep the dignity of an elected people’s representative nor did it fit for an MP. What Joyce did was the breach of oath as an MP,’ he said adding that Government will take the steps, which are only constitutionally valid and legal correct. ‘Government will not succumb to the pressure being exerted by anybody,’ he said.