Human Rights Commission Investigates KSEB’s Felling of Banana Plants: Farmer Seeks Explanation and Compensation

Kochi: The Human Rights Commission has initiated a self-initiated case regarding the cutting down of banana plants on a one-acre property owned by Anish in Ilangadam, Puthupadi, Kothamangalam. The responsible party, KSEB authorities, have been called upon by Commission member V K Beena Kumari to provide an explanation within fifteen days. This action follows media reports that prompted the registration of the case.

KSEB employees took the action of chopping down around 406 banana plants last Friday. Anish, a longstanding farmer from Kothamangalam, expressed his disappointment that the KSEB employees did not give any prior notice before felling the plants. He noted that had they communicated beforehand, alternative solutions could have been explored. The felled banana plants, intended for the Onam market, were almost ready for harvest, causing Anish a substantial loss of Rs 4 lakhs.

Protests arose in response to the incident, prompting the Electricity Minister to announce forthcoming compensation for the affected farmer. KSEB officials explained that the banana plant leaves were encroaching upon a power line, resulting in power outages. The decision to cut down the plants was influenced by the need to maintain the Idukki-Kothamangalam 220 KV power line and prevent potential risks to human safety.

The Minister’s office conveyed that the officials responsible cited the urgency to trim the bananas near the power line to restore the 220 KV line between Idukki and Kothamangalam. To address this as a special case on humanitarian grounds, the Director of KSEB’s broadcasting department has been tasked with collaborating with the agriculture department officials to determine appropriate assistance measures.

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