Ooty:The apex court’s direction on razing constructions in the Segur valley elephant corridor along the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris appears to be the final solution to the decade-long legal battle.
Speaking to DC, Mr. Elephant G.Rajendran, Chennai-based environmentalist who is the petitioner in the PIL on the elephant corridor issue in the Nilgiris, said that the Supreme Court had, on Thursday accepted in principle, to raze down all buildings, including tourist resorts and lodges in the Segur Valley elephant corridor and asked the Nilgiris district administration to file a list of such buildings, which had come up in the elephant corridor before and after the Madras High Court pronounced its final order in this case way back in 2011.
“I pointed out during my argument in the case at the apex court on Thursday that so many new constructions have sprouted in the Segur Valley elephant corridor, though the Madras High Court banned constructions there after 2011. Now, the apex court has given four weeks time to the Nilgiris district collector to file a list of buildings in the corridor. The court will take a final call on demolition of these buildings after perusing the details submitted by the collector,” he said and hoped that with this, the decade-long legal battle over buildings, encroachments and other disturbances in the Segur valley elephant corridor will come to an end to clear the path for the elephants to walk freely in the corridor.
Hailing Mr.Rajendran for his fighting spirit in conserving elephants and recouping the elephant corridor, B.K. Kumaran, president of the Nilgiris Ecology and Animals Protection Samithi, said that most private patta lands in the notified corridor are already covered under the Tamil Nadu Preservation of Private Forests Act (TNPPF-Act) which itself bans constructions in the corridor. What is needed is that the Nilgiris district administration initiates action to raze all structures which have already violated the TNPPF Act. Since revenue lands in the corridor are under the clutch of encroachers, the district administration should immediately remove encroachments to recoup the corridor and initiate action against local body and forest officials who failed to act on violations in the corridor, he said.