Illegal trekking in Megamalai: sporting company fined ₹7 lakh


Forest department levied a fine of ₹7 lakh on Decathlon, Madurai, a sporting company, for organising an illegal trek in Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.

On a tip-off, a special patrolling squad from Chinnamanur range in Thenpalani beat found a group of 11 people, including five children, camping in tents on a patta land near the forest area at 4 p.m. on December 22.

The group, including N. Niranjan Lan, 53, J. Hemanth, 43, Vignesh, 27, and M. Jeevamanoj, 26, trekked through forest land, erected tents and started a bonfire in the area without seeking permission from the department. It stayed on a patta land owned by S. Vijayraj.

The trek, which was organised by the sporting company, violated the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Upon questioning the trekkers, the officials found that a team from Decathlon, including S. Sudarshan, K. Raghavendran and A. Akash, had worked on conceptualising and executing the trip.

As a warning, the department compounded the offences and levied the fine.

Wildlife Warden S. Kalanithi recalled the horrific fire in Kurangani earlier this year that claimed the lives of 23 persons, including women. “Though the group halted on a patta land, it trespassed into the forest without any permission. They also did not have a registered guide with them. It is common to spot such groups attempting to take spontaneous treks. However, the department must be kept in the loop to prevent any untoward incident,” he said. He added that illegal trespassing would attract severe consequences in the future.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 1:19:51 pm |