The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Bench on Tuesday restrained the management of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras from felling trees and carrying out construction activities until further orders.
Admitting an application filed by E. Seshan, an environmental activist, the Bench, comprising its judicial member Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member Prof. R. Nagandren, said, “In view of the seriousness of the issue, the Tribunal feels that an immediate intervention is warranted.”
M. Santhanaraman, counsel for Mr. Seshan, submitted that IIT- M had already cleared more than 8,000 trees on more than 50 acres of forests between 2001 and 2013 without any statutory permission from authorities.
There were reports that another 58 acres of forest were to be cleared for construction of buildings and additional facilities.
In his application, Mr. Seshan submitted that IIT-M has also been organising high-impact, high-decibel events which generated massive quantities of non-biodegradable garbage. More than 13,000 vehicles entered the campus during the festivals that were disturbing not only the peace of the forests, but also posing a significant hazard for wildlife.
On January 8, 2013, four deer were found dead within the campus.
The Tribunal also directed IIT-M, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, and authorities in State government to file their replies on March 13.
Responding to the order, IIT- Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said they will implement it as mandated. “We are looking at it now. We will file an appeal if required,” he added.