Cases that can make a difference: On PILs dealing with non-native flora in the Western Ghats

Updated - September 09, 2018 10:11 am IST

Published - September 09, 2018 12:12 am IST

Gorse has taken over vast expanses of grassland, which used to serve as grazing land for the Nilgiri tahr .

Gorse has taken over vast expanses of grassland, which used to serve as grazing land for the Nilgiri tahr .

In his PIL, M. Saravanan, the petitioner from Madurai, had complained that close to 22,000 hectares of the Shola forest had been swallowed up by commercially trees like wattle and eucalyptus.

 

He claimed that these trees were fast growing, and a menace to the native ecosystem. They had little space between them, making it hard for wildlife to move about freely, and had led to water channels in the Shola forests drying up, he said.

The High Court is also hearing a PIL petition seeking a direction to preserve the Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli.

The petitioner, S. Sudalaikannu of Tirunelveli, has sought a direction to restrain authorities from commencing stone quarrying operations within 10 km. of the reserve forest. The High Court has directed the Deputy Director of Forests, Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve to appear in person and assist the court in the case. Earlier, the Forest Official, in his counter affidavit filed before the court, acknowledged that the tender notification issued by the Tirunelveli Collector granting permission for a stone quarry within 10 km. of the tiger reserve was in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Last year, the High Court, taking into account the issue of tree felling in the Megamalai forest range in Theni, directed notices be served on the Environment and Forest Secretary and the District Collector of Theni. The case is pending before the court.

The petitioner, S.Pandi of Theni, complained that close 300 trees were felled to make way for roads.

He sought a direction for the restoration of the forests and an inquiry against forest officials for their inaction with regard to tree felling.

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