Felling of trees posing a threat to Pachaimalai hills
V Santhanam, an activist based in Chromepet, urged the government to convert the hill into a tourist destination as evidence of megalithic settlements are found around the hill.
CHENNAI: Encompassed within the fast-urbanising Tambaram Corporation and abutting ever-bustling Grand Southern Trunk Road, Pachaimalai hills near Tambaram Sanatorium is a serenity among hurly-burly. But its greenery is in danger as unknown miscreants are chopping trees on its foothills.
T Vinister, secretary of the Pachaimalai Residents’ Welfare Association, said the residents are kept in dark and no one from the government explained the chopping of trees. “We do not know who cut down the trees, whether private persons or government authorities. However, the talk is that the government is proposing government quarters at the spot,” he added.
He also pointed out that the hill comes under the purview of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protected sites and no new construction should be permitted.
Another resident said the trees were cut down two weeks ago but stopped after a few days. “Without required permission, a sponge factory was constructed in the hill area but the construction was stopped after residents highlighted the issue. Now, the under-construction building has been sealed. As this is a residential area, factories should not be constructed here (Pachaimalai),” she fumed.
When asked, Chengalpattu Collector Rahul Nath said he had directed the Commissioner of Tambaram Corporation to inspect the site and send a report.
V Santhanam, an activist based in Chromepet, urged the government to convert the hill into a tourist destination as evidence of megalithic settlements are found around the hill. “The hill should be protected from encroachments and degradation. There are several herbal plants on the hill which support the biodiversity,” he said.
He expressed discontent that the district administration does not have details or documents about the Pachaimalai. “When I filed an RTI seeking details of the herbal plants and others, the reply given was vague. There is a confusion of revenue, mines and forest departments regarding who should maintain the hill.”
Meanwhile, cadres from the environmental wing of the Naam Thamilar Katchi (NTK) staged a protest at the site opposing the cutting down of the trees.