Ignore industry lobby, remove seemai karuvelam: Madras High Court to TN govt

The bench opined that it was the mistake of officials who encouraged the cultivation of seemai karuvelam earlier as if they are increasing the green cover.
Madras High Court (File Photo)
Madras High Court (File Photo)

Chennai

The Madras High Court on Wednesday asked officials not to yield to the pressure of the industry lobby, who are using seemai karuvelam (prosopis juliflora) as firewood, and instructed the government to eradicate the invasive species for the welfare of the State.
“Though the industry lobby is much powerful, we should not yield to its pressure. Don’t think that I am an outsider. I am from Tamil Nadu and know about the happenings here. I request the officials appearing here to kindly serve the people of Tamil Nadu,” Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari said while sitting on a larger bench along with Justices N Sathish Kumar and PD Audikesavalu to hear a case related to the removal of the trees.
The Chief Justice added that the officials should conduct an independent study about seemai karuvelam’s adverse effects and also the practice followed in other states to remove it. Additional Advocate General S Silambanan submitted that the process of framing policy/scheme to remove seemai karuvelam – as the bench had directed on February 2 – has reached the final stage, and said it would be put in the public domain.
When the AAG informed the court that people in many villages were using it as firewood, Justice Bhandari asked for the details of the people who were doing that.
Environment Secretary Supriya Sahu also pointed out that tea industry was also using seemai karuvelam as firewood.
The bench opined that it was the mistake of officials who encouraged the cultivation of seemai karuvelam earlier as if they are increasing the green cover.
The court then adjourned the matter to March 18 after directing the government to submit the policy drafted on removing seemai karuvelam.

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