Illegal resorts in Tiger Reserve forest: High Court issues notice to TN

However, these resorts did not get any approval and without complying with any of the laws and rules have caused and are causing damage to the fragile forest and hill ecology in more than one way.
Illegal resorts in Tiger Reserve forest: High Court issues notice to TN
Madras High Court File

CHENNAI: A vacation bench of Madras High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government directing the Forest Department to file its response by June 23 on a plea alleging the illegal functioning of 47 resorts in the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Erode district in the Nilgiris biosphere.

While heading a vacation bench along with Justice Mohammed Shafiq, Justice MS Ramesh passed the direction on hearing the plea filed by Dr S Karpagam, a resident of Coimbatore.

The petitioner prayed for a direction from the court to the government to seal all the 47 resorts in the STR region stating that they are posing a threat to the forest and wildlife.

"The resorts did not get any statutory approval from the National Board of Wildlife(NBW) as envisaged under Section 33 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The resorts do not get any clearance from the Hill Areas Conservation Authority (HACA)," advocate SP Chockalingam appearing for the petitioner submitted.

He further submitted that as per the provision of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, all the construction works to be carried out in all sanctuaries should get the approval of the Chief Wildlife Warden subject to prior approval from the National Board of Wild Life, HACA and the Supreme Court.

However, these resorts did not get any approval and without complying with any of the laws and rules have caused and are causing damage to the fragile forest and hill ecology in more than one way.

These illegal resorts had increased tourism and anthropogenic pressure. "Unsafe disposal of food and waste materials, stress to wildlife from intense focus lights and sound, impediment on the free movement of wildlife, increased vehicular movement in the forest and increased roadkill are the adverse effects occurring due to these illegal resorts," the petition read.

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