Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday (July 17) pulled up the state government over the issue of alleged encroachments in the tourist town of Munnar in the state by reportedly claiming that it was facilitating such activities in the ecologically sensitive hills.

A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy, made the oral observation while considering a contempt plea of an organisation named Paristhithi Samrakshana Samithi, alleging the government was violating an interim order of the court.

Observing that the government was providing electricity and water connections to the buildings constructed on the encroached land, the court said such actions amounted to cheating the public.

While the government had reportedly claimed that it opposed all sorts of encroachments, the court observed that it had provided all facilitation for such illegal acts.

The state government, in an affidavit, said it has not committed any contempt of court and claimed it has only acted following the court's directive.

The government also submitted that electricity is a must for small local traders and commercial activities undertaken by local persons like small tea shops, hotels and workshops.

"The small commercial activity is the livelihood of a large number of local people, who are born and brought up in the locality," the government said.

The court adjourned the matter for further hearing later where the date was not disclosed.