A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered that status quo be maintained with respect to the closure of the mangrove theme park run by the Pappinisseri Eco Tourism Society in Kannur until further orders.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by Ansari Kannoth, Kannur district president of the Muslim Youth League.
The petition sought a directive to the society to pay compensation for the damage caused to the mangrove and the ecology due to the setting up of the theme park.
Though a prayer for a directive to the society to close down the park became infractuous, the petitioner pushed for the plea for compensation.
According to the petitioner, park had been established on the banks of the Valapattanam river. The most important feature of the river was its rich mangrove forest. This was a breeding ground for various types of fishes and other marine life. The place had various species of birds. Besides, it was an ecologically sensitive area. The mangroves were essential for keeping in check the soil erosion and denudation of forests in the catchment area of the river. Therefore, protection and management of the mangrove forest was vital for the safety of the people living near this place. The petitioner also pointed out that the Valapattanam river area came under the category of the Coastal Regulation Zone-I. The society was forced to commercially exploit the area and make profit. The society consisted of ruling party members.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority in an affidavit in the case said the area came under CRZ-I and it was ecologically sensitive and important. The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan map showed the banks of the river as CRZ areas. No new construction should be permitted except projects of Atomic Energy Department, pipelines transmission lines, etc. The authority said that no development activities should be permitted in CRZ- I category. Besides, reclamation for commercial purposes such as hotels and entertainment activities had been prohibited in the area. In fact, the road constructed in the areas would amount to violation of the provisions of the CRZ notification.