Use MGNREGA funds for removal of invasive species: Madras High Court

A report filed before the court indicated that the invasive species are a threat to the entire eco-system and if it is not arrested, the entire forest will vanish.

Published: 29th April 2022 08:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2022 08:02 PM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (Photo | EPS)

By PTI

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the State and the central governments to use the funds available under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for removal of invasive plant species by engaging tribals and local community people living in the wild areas.

A division bench of Justices V Bharathidasan and N Sathish Kumar gave the direction while passing further interim orders on a petition taken up by the court on its own and a batch of PIL petitions.

Earlier, the judges were informed by the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) that the MGNREG Act did not cover provision of funds for weeding out the invasive species, lantanas, etc.

Differing with the ASG's submission, the bench observed that a combined reading of the provisions of the MGNREGA and the operational guidelines make it very clear that the scheme included removal of weeds in the forest and also afforestation purpose.

Hence, the contention of the ASG that the use of the funds under the MGNREGA scheme might not be feasible, has no leg to stand.

The removal of invasive species like lantanas and other ones is an onerous task.

It is not a one or two days affair.

It will take several years to eradicate the invasive plants and it would also require continuous monitoring, the bench pointed out.

A report filed before the court indicated that the invasive species are a threat to the entire eco-system and if it is not arrested, the entire forest will vanish.

The ageing trees will automatically die within a short span of time.

The invasive species will also suppress the secondary growth in the forest, resulting in fodder scarcity.

It will make the elephants to stray outside the forest and create conflicts between men and animals.

As the object of the MGNREGA is to provide livelihood security to the tribals, who are the real foot soldiers of the forest and anti-poaching watchers, they can very well be engaged in removing the invasive species, the bench said.

"In view of the above, we direct the Union and the State governments to use the funds available under the MGNREGA to remove the invasive species by engaging the tribals and local community people..." the bench said.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp