BANGALORE: The National Green Tribunal has directed five real estate promoters to stop construction of resorts in eco-sensitive areas of Chikmagalur district until further orders.
With the government dragging its feet on demarcation of eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) in the Western Ghats, the order comes as a shot in the arm for green activists.
The order specifically names four projects: KSS Hotels and Resorts, Primrose Hotels and Resorts, Greenwood Resorts and Jhari Resorts.
The tribunal took serious note of hotels and resorts being built in hilly and forested areas near the Bhadra Tiger Reserve, and passed the order.
“It is well known that putting up of ... hotels is definitely dangerous to the movement of tigers and also their habitat,” the tribunal stated.
The order came into effect from June 11. The tribunal has directed the Chikmagalur Deputy Conservator of Forests to scrupulously ensure that it is implemented, and to file a status report by August 4.
Express was informed about the order on Wednesday by wildlife conservationist D V Girish, who had filed a petition before the bench.
Girish and two others filed the petition in February as both the district authorities and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board had given clearances for the construction of big resorts in the hilly, thickly-forested regions of the district.
Girish told Express, “Resorts are mushrooming. With the government yet to demarcate the eco-sensitive regions of the Western Ghats, this region has become an open field for big real estate promoters.”
Although a buffer zone has been created in the district, norms are routinely flouted by politically influential resort promoters.
The only recourse is the legal system, he said.
Praveen Bhargava of Wildlife First welcomed the order.
“This is necessary for sensitive areas around the Bhadra. Despite guidelines from the Ministry of Environment and Forests barring construction in eco-sensitive areas, norms are flouted time and again,” Bhargava said.