College restrained from felling trees

: The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday restrained the principal and secretary of Saraswathi Narayanan College at Perungudi near here from cutting down the trees within its premises.

The interim order was passed following a public interest litigation petition filed by Tamil Nadu Science Forum alleging that the college had already felled more than 25 trees.

A Division Bench comprising Justice D. Murugesan and Justice M. Duraiswamy also directed the District Forest Officer to inspect the college and submit a report by August 18 with regard to the number and nature of trees felled by the management so far. The officer was also ordered to find out the number of trees available as of now within the college premises.

Good environment

In an affidavit filed on behalf of the science forum, its president S. Krishnasamy said that the numerous spontaneous trees, including Banyan and Neem, within the college campus provided a good environment for the students and staff.

These trees also served as a sanctuary for different species of birds and fruit eating bats (Indian Flying Fox). The college secretary allowed some timber traders to inspect the trees on the campus and allowed them to fell those trees on August 3.

The timber worth more than Rs.10 lakh was sold in the open market without obtaining permission from the Forest Department.

An Assistant Professor, who questioned such illegal felling, was also attacked by a laboratory assistant, the forum claimed.

Its counsel T. Lajapathi Roy contended that a large number of students gathered on the college premises on August 4 and requested the management not to cut the trees.

He further said that Section 27 of the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act states that a private college should not transfer its properties by way of sale without obtaining prior permission from the authorities concerned.

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