Centre’s reply sought to use MGNREGS funds to remove exotic trees

A division bench of the Madras High Court on Monday directed the Union government to file its response on Tuesday on whether Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds can be used to remove exotic tree species and afforestation works in the Western Ghats.
Centre’s reply sought to use MGNREGS funds to remove exotic trees

Chennai: The bench comprising Justice V Bharathidasan and Justice N Sathikumar was hearing a batch of writ petitions on protecting forests in the Western Ghats. “The MGNREGS funds can be used for the afforestation works as well as for work of removing the unwanted and exotic invasive species of trees in the Western Ghats. The tribal people can benefit from this arrangement,” the bench observed.

When the State submitted that the Centre was not ready to grant funds to carry out the work under the scheme, the bench directed the Additional Solicitor General to get the instructions on whether or not it is ready to extend necessary funds.

While hearing petitions in connection with plastic usage in the Western Ghats, the bench warned the State that it would pass orders to shut Tasmac liquor outlets in hill stations if action was not taken to eradicate plastic materials in liquor shops there. The court then directed Tasmac to come up with a scheme to buy back glass bottles to prevent animals from getting affected.

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