Interim order passed to restrain Kerala authorities from going ahead with plans.
The National Green Tribunal, Southern Bench on Monday restrained the authorities in Kerala from proceeding with any development and construction activities in the Periya Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Idukki district.
The Bench comprising its judicial member Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member Prof. R. Nagendran passed the interim order on an application filed by M.S.Thankappan, a resident of Thekkady.
In its application, Mr.Thankappan said that at present the Forests and Wildlife Department was developing a car park at 20 acres inside the wildlife habitat at Anavacahal inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady. While granting sanction for a tiger conservation plan, the National Tiger Conservation Authority imposed a condition that the project should not overrule the existing laws of the country. Following the sanction, the Department of Tourism decided to develop the area and make certain constructions including shopping mall and other buildings that too without obtaining clearance from a centrally empowered committee. “As per provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, the authorities have no right to use forest land for non-forestry purposes like development for car parking, construction of buildings. The activities undertaken are non-forestry activities and that will adversely affect the wildlife and the forest ecology”, the applicant added.
Mr.Thankappan also added that environmental impact assessment was not conducted by the authorities in respect of proposed development and construction.
The Tribunal also directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and other authorities of Kerala Government to file replies on May 8.