MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court recently sought a response from the State forest department on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the unauthorised entry of people into the reserve forest area in Srivilliputhur.
The litigant, C Pandiyaraj, an advocate from Virudhunagar, submitted that the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary and Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary were declared as Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve and a gazette notification declaring this was passed in February last year.
Since the Kattalagar temple, which is under the control of the HR and CE department, is situated within the boundaries of this tiger reserve and special pujas are conducted in the temple every Saturday and other auspicious days, a large number of devotees throng the temple without obtaining proper permission from the forest department, Pandiyaraj alleged. Sometimes they stay overnight there and pollute the forest by dumping plastic wastes, he added.
Moreover, elephant movement is common on the path leading to the temple but some private individuals are setting up electric fences on the path, he claimed. The government has also given sanctions to lay roads in the reserve forest with the sole intention to help owners of estates in the reserve forest, he further alleged. He requested the court to direct the authorities to restrain the illegal entry of people into the reserve forest area and take suitable action to protect the forest.
Since the government counsel submitted that a committee was already functioning for the above purpose, a Bench of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad sought a detailed response on the committee, its members and action taken by them so far, among others. The case was adjourned to November 3.