The Centre would take action if there was any diversion of forest land for non-forestry purpose in the hill station of Munnar in Kerala, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said.
"Law of the land is supreme and if there is any encroachment on forest land they will be dealt with. If there is diversion of forest land, it calls for our intervention because Forest Conservation Act is a Central Act," he told reporters in Kochi.
Replying to a specific query on the encroachments in Munnar, he said, "I do not know the facts of the case. But all I can tell you is that if there is an encroachment on forest land they will be dealt with. Law of the land is supreme. Forest Conservation Act of 1980 for me is the Bible," he said.
Kerala cabinet had last week decided to intensify its efforts to clear all encroachments in Munnar.
Ramesh said his objective in Munnar would be to preserve its ecological sanctity. "I do not want one form of construction to be replaced by another form of construction. My priority in Munnar is to protect its ecological wealth."
Replying to a question, Ramesh said Kerala has a unique ecology, a unique geography and population density. "These three factors makes it necessary for us to look at Kerala as a special case from the point of view of Coastal Zone Management," he said.
On the ban on new constructions in coastal zone for eight months, he said no fresh environmental approval would be given till the state governments came up with a credible action plan.