In a case pertaining to a PIL alleging encroachment of Forest Reserve land at the Naduvattam village in Nilgiri's district in Tamil Nadu to build a private resort, the Madras High Court ruled out a statement firmly specifying that not even an inch of forest land must be encroached.
First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy of the Madras High Court intimated the Nilgiri's collector. The officials of the Forest Department immediately pay a visit to the concerned spot and investigate the allegation litigated by S. Prabakaran.
Prabakaran, a local of the district, petitioned in his Public Interest Litigation that a Chennai based doctor was constructing the resort, and had laid pipelines to draw water from the forest lands.
According to the petitioner, this encroachment violates the habitat, proposes damage to the ecosystem along with the flora and fauna, risks deforestation and will also lead to disruption in the natural flow of water. In his petition, he also urged that the forest authorities carry out a survey to demarcate the forest cover.
Prabakaran also claimed that no due action was taken when the issue was taken to the Forest Department, which led him to take the matter to court. The court in their order to seek into the matter laid out clear instructions to find out whether any forest land was encroached upon, and if it was, then to retrieve it back to the pristine status of Forest Reserve, reported The Hindu.
The court also stated that if the investigation of the allegation results to be true, then strict action against the indiscretion of the forest officials be ensured.
"If such is the case, the same must be stopped immediately and the negligent or recalcitrant forest officials identified, and steps taken against them for not being able to protect the relevant forest," the court ordered.
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