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Illegal Resorts In Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve: Madras High Court Issues Notices To Nat'l Wildlife Board, Tiger Conservation Authority

Upasana Sajeev
3 Jun 2022 12:30 PM GMT
Illegal Resorts In Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve: Madras High Court Issues Notices To Natl Wildlife Board, Tiger Conservation Authority
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The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notices to the National Board of Wildlife and the National Tiger Conservation Authority in a plea seeking to close down and remove all the illegal resorts/ lodges/ farmhouses operated in the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.The bench of Justice MS Ramesh and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq were hearing a petition filed by Dr. R Karpagam, founder of Oli...

The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notices to the National Board of Wildlife and the National Tiger Conservation Authority in a plea seeking to close down and remove all the illegal resorts/ lodges/ farmhouses operated in the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.

The bench of Justice MS Ramesh and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq were hearing a petition filed by Dr. R Karpagam, founder of Oli Awareness Movement and a teacher by profession. 

Dr Karpagam stated that there are 47 illegal resorts/lodges functioning within the overall boundary of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve. These resorts were illegal on two counts: Firstly, they do not have the statutory approval from the National Board of Wildlife as contemplated under Section 33 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and secondly that they do not have the requisite clearance from the Hill Areas Conservation Authority (HACA). 

She further stated that the Hill Areas Conservation Authority was constituted under the provisions of The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971 to protect the fragile hill areas and arrest the deterioration of hill environment. Sathyamangalam and Bhavani are Hill Taluks covered by the HACA.

She also stated that there was a Government Order dated 24.03.2003 which states that the projects concerning holiday villages, hotel and resort complexes, hostels and restaurants need prior clearance from HACA and that the respondents were tactically violating this GO. The order states that any project requires clearance from the HACA if it is more than 300 sq.m. The resort owners are constructing several units of less than 300 Sq.m and ensembling them and using them as a whole thus bending the law.

She also highlighted the order of the Supreme Court had directed the authorities to seal 39 hotels and resorts which were being run illegally in Nilgiri Hills. The Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve was also a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere. 

The petitioner further stated that though there was a fundamental duty on the State to protect and improve the environment, the authorities were acting as mute spectators in this illegality. Thus, there was a need for court intervention. 

The matter will be taken up on June 23 2022.

Case Title: Dr. R Karpagam v. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Warden and Others

Case No: WP No. 13711 of 2022

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