The IPL has spawned yet another controversy. With the Kochi franchise good to go for the upcoming IPL, there is no telling as yet whether the new team will be gifted a home ground. That's because the Kerala Union Environment and Forest Ministry has sent a notice to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for destroying mangroves in Ernakulam district to construct the stadium.
"The mangroves appear to have been removed to a large extent by the KCA, which is in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification and the site is an important bird area," the ministry said in its notice.
The KCA, for its part, has maintained that it hasn't destroyed any mangroves, but photographic evidence indicates otherwise.
The Kerala forest department is now probing the destruction of mangroves in 23.5 hectares of land. The ministry has asked the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) to take appropriate action against the violators and submit an action-taken report within 15 days.
The various guidelines that would be violated include the Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines, Kerala Paddy Fields and Wetland Conservation Act, Biodiversity Act, Land Reforms Act and the Forest Act.
Meanwhile, a committee headed by V S Achuthanandan has intervened in the dispute and will take a call a to whether the construction of the cricket stadium will go ahead or be stalled. The state government will have to decide if there can be any relaxation of rules for the proposed stadium because an NGO, the People's Movement for Earth, Justice and Democracy, has demanded the abandoning of the stadium project.