Ranni: A mini forest at Mamukku in the heart of Ranni town may disappear if another flood hits the area, point out local people. Located by the side of the Valiyathodu canal near Valiyapalam bridge, the plot measures 90 cents according to official records. But the actual area may be less than 50 cents as the canal washed away parts of it during floods.
The forested land lies on both sides of the canal and it was earlier leased out for tapioca cultivation. Later, the Forest Department cancelled the lease and planted teak. Now, teak and wild trees have grown in the area, turning it into a mini forest. When flooding occurs in the canal during the monsoon, the rising waters erode the land, reducing the area of the forest and uprooting many trees.
Recently, some uprooted trees that fell into the canal were allegedly stolen. But, the Forest officials do not seem to care. In fact, the plot, worth lakhs of rupees, is neglected by the officials. The land can be retained by building protective walls along the canal, but no steps have been taken in this regard.
Locals say that the Forest Department should hand over the grove to the local body, which can utilise the area for a public purpose. However, neither the panchayat nor people’s representatives are showing any interest. It has been pointed out that if a park come up at the place, it would provide a space for people to spend their evenings, apart from being a source of income for the panchayat.