Collector orders inquiry into use of earthmovers in Ketti

A video of an earthmover alleged to have been working illegally under the cover of darkness to prevent detection went viral on social media. The district administration, acting on media reports, has formed a team of officials from the Revenue Department to conduct an inquiry.

A local activist from Ketti said booming construction in the area as well as conversion of fallow land into farms had led to an increase in the use of earthmovers to excavate hillocks for farming and construction projects.

“In the recent past, screens have been used to shield excavation activities, while this video shows that they are also being used at night to prevent detection,” he said.

The use of earthmovers is strictly regulated by the district administration, with permissions being granted by the Revenue Department for their use. Activists said unregulated use of earthmovers not only damaged the fragile landscape of the Nilgiris, but also impacted slope stability and increased the chance of landslips.

After media reports emerged of the use of earth excavators in Ketti Palada in Ketti, the Nilgiris Collector S.P. Amrith ordered an inquiry into the usage of the earthmovers in the area.

Mr. Amrith told The Hindu 14 permissions had been given in the last month for the use of earthmovers in Ketti.

A team of revenue officials would visit the area and conduct an inquiry and ascertain whether the earthmovers had been used illegally in any area where permissions were not granted.

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