CHENNAI: The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday restrained the Auroville Foundation from felling trees for a road project in the ‘deemed forest’ area. Judicial member Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member Dr. K Satyagopal issued an interim stay against the uprooting of trees until December 17, by which date, the Auroville Foundation should file its response.
The orders were passed on a petition filed by environmental activist Navroz Kersasp Mody. He alleged the foundation had done some construction work and, in the guise of expanding the project, is laying a ring road and proposed to cut a large number of trees. If it is allowed to cut the trees without necessary planning and permission, it will have a great impact on the environment, he cautioned.
The bench said, “We feel the status-quo order can be passed directing Auroville Foundation not to fell any further trees till December 17, 2021, as not much damage will be caused to the other side if it is stopped for a short while in the interest of protecting the environment.”
“On going through the allegations made in the application, we are satisfied that there arises a substantial question, as to whether any permission is required under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, for cutting trees from a Deemed Forest,” the bench said.
“Considering the urgency of the matter, we feel that ex-parte interim order will have to be passed, and if no interim order is passed, then it is likely to cause greater damage to the environment. The court can issue such order to protect and preserve the property which is said to be under danger if it is satisfied that there arises an extraordinary circumstance requiring to exercise the discretion of issuing an interim order without hearing the other side.”Auroville public relations office refused to comment on the NGT order stating that it’s a judicial matter.