27 resorts in Nilgiris jumbo path to be shut

SC sets 48-hour deadline for closure

Updated - August 10, 2018 08:04 am IST

Published - August 09, 2018 11:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to shut down illegal resorts operating in the elephant corridor in the Nilgris district, saying “elephants are our heritage.”

“We are destroying our heritage,” Justice Madan B. Lokur, heading a three-judge Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and S. Abdul Nazeer, observed.

On Collector’s report

The Bench gave the Tamil Nadu government a 48-hour deadline to seal or close 27 commercial establishments after perusing a report submitted by the Nilgris District Collector on a total 39 resorts.

Noting that there was no legal representation for the resort owners, the Bench said this would be deemed as an acceptance of the report filed by the District Collector.

“They are directed to be closed down or sealed by the Collector. We have requested counsel for the State to do the needful within 48 hours,” the Bench observed.

Produce documents

The court granted 48 hours for the remaining 12 of the 39 resorts to produce documents showing approval and valid title for land.

“In case, the Collector finds that the documentation is incomplete or approval not granted, she should close down and seal the premises immediately thereafter,” it said.

Regarding others, whose names were mentioned in the report, the Bench said necessary documents might be produced before the collector for verification within a period of two months from Thursday.

The court posted the matter for hearing on October 24.

The Bench had earlier, while making it clear that the elephant corridor was off-limits for resorts or any construction activity, directed the Collector to file a report about the details of the existing resorts and how they came to be there.

The owners of some of these hotels and resorts have also filed appeals in the apex court against a Madras High Court order against them in this regard.

The Supreme Court had earlier said it was “extremely unfortunate” that several States had not responded to two communications sent by the Centre on the issue of elephant corridors to curb incidents of human-animal conflict and reduce animal fatalities.

The Centre had told the court that there were 27 “critical” elephant corridors across 22 States. The court had earlier been informed that about 18,000 elephants travelled to Tamil Nadu during the monsoon season.

Regarding others, whose names were mentioned in the report, the Bench said necessary documents might be produced before the collector for verification within a period of two months from Thursday.

The court posted the matter for hearing on October 24.

Hotel owners’ plea

The Bench had earlier, while making it clear that the elephant corridor was off-limits for resorts or any construction activity, directed the Collector to file a report about the details of the existing resorts and how they came to be there.

The owners of some of these hotels and resorts have also filed appeals in the apex court against a Madras High Court order against them in this regard.

The Supreme Court had earlier said it was “extremely unfortunate” that several States had not responded to two communications sent by the Centre on the issue of elephant corridors to curb incidents of human-animal conflict and reduce animal fatalities.

The Centre had told the court that there were 27 “critical” elephant corridors across 22 States. The court had earlier been informed that about 18,000 elephants travelled to Tamil Nadu during the monsoon season.

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