CHENNAI: A division bench of Madras High Court on Monday directed the Collectors of all the districts in the State to file a monthly progress report on the action taken at the panchayat level to eradicate the Seemai Karuvelam trees.
The bench comprising Justice N Sathish Kumar and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy passed the orders on hearing a batch of writ petitions to remove the Prosopis Juliflora (Seemai Karuvelam) and other invasive species.
After the State’s Rural Development, Water Resources, and Forest Departments filed a counter in connection with the process of removing the invasive species, the judges insisted the government implement the order in letter and spirit.
“The Collectors shall advise the panchayats to remove the Seemai karuvelam trees and plants immediately. The village panchayats shall sell the removed Seemai Karuvelam woods and they can plant the native saplings in the place where the invasive species existed,” the bench observed.
According to the judges, the government should not remove it on a step-by-step basis and the action should be executed by awarding tenders to various players.
The court wanted the State to complete the work within three months. The High Court asked the State to file a report regarding the removal of Seemai Karuvelam trees by awarding tenders on November 2.
The Rural Development Department submitted that it had removed Seemai Karuvelam trees from 4,700 hectares in Tamil Nadu at an expense of Rs.4.74 crore.
The Water Resources Department said that it has identified 1.93 lakh hectares of water bodies having invasive species. Seemai Karuvelam grew in 70,294 hectares of water bodies had been removed, according to the WRD’s counter affidavit.
Meanwhile, the Forest Department submitted that it has eradicated invasive species from 200 hectares of forest areas in the Mudhumalai and Anamalai areas.
Recording the submissions, the judges adjourned the matter to November 2.