CHENNAI : The State forest department has won a major legal battle and retrieved about 30 acres of Nanmangalam reserve forest given to an educational trust in 1975. The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed by Quaid-e-Milleth Educational and Social Trust, Chennai, claiming ownership of the land.
The trust was assigned 40 acres from the reserve forest by the then Principal Secretary of Department of Environment and Forest by virtue of two Government Orders (GO) dated January 1, 1975 and May 17, 1975. The GO imposed a condition that the land must be utilised for educational purposes only and if the land could not be utilised for the purpose for which it had been granted, the entire area would revert to the forest department.
Nanmangalam Reserve Forest is a protected area amidst Medavakkam, in southern Chennai. District Forest Officer V Subbaiah told Express that as per the GO, the trust should have utilised the land within two years. The forest department surveyed the area and found the trust had utilised only 10.67 acres of land till 2012.
“So, the balance 29.33 acres of land was taken back by the department on October 19, 2012. Challenging this, the trust filed a writ petition asking the court to quash the order and forbear the department from proceeding with the resumption of the unutilised land,” he said. Forest officials said this development augured well for the people as 30 acres of ‘jungle’ lung space at Medavakkam, which lies in the centre of developing suburbs like Ponmar, Ottiyambakkam and Sithalapakkam, was priceless.