The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Erode and Coimbatore district administrations to ensure that all illegal quarrying activities in the forest areas of Neithalapuram and Igalur villages in Sathyamangalam Taluk of Erode and Siddankuttai and Sirumugai Range of Forest Division in Coimbatore, be restrained with immediate effect.
Taking suo moto cognisance of a media report, which pointed to large scale illegal quarrying in these forests, the Bench comprising judicial member Justice P Jyothimani and expert member Professor R Nagendran said that it was not only a case of illegal quarrying, but was alarmingly in the middle of a protected forest area.
The quarrying was in violation of a recent notification that banned any such activity within a radius of 10 km around a national park, sanctuary or a tiger reserve.
The activity also affected the elephant corridor in the area apart from being detrimental to wildlife.
“Prima facie, the tribunal is satisfied that restraining orders are to be issued against anyone from carrying on the quarrying activities in the forest areas until further orders,” the direction said, making it clear that the district administrations concerned had to ensure implementation of the order and report to the tribunal in the next hearing with information on whether anyone had been provided permission to quarry in the area.