EVEN before the IT SEZ planned by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot) could take shape, there seems to be a big rush for IT space among various corporates and developers in the city.

While city-based corporates like the Bannari Amman Group, Salzer group and KG group have come out with their plans on the IT front, many new commercial developers have also joined the bandwagon by getting formal SEZ approvals for their proposed projects. Coimbatore Hi-Tech Infrastructure is planning to develop an IT SEZ over 60.73 acres at Keeranatham village and Span Ventures has got formal approval for 10.5 acres IT/ITeS SEZ at Eachanari.

The state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco), is also planning an IT park in the city suburbs. Rakindo Developers, a 50-50 joint venture between Vishwatej Projects and Rakeen, UAE, along with Tidco has proposed to develop feeder township, residential and leisure facilities over 625 acres in the villages of Sundakamuthur, Perur Chettipalayam and Thithipalayam.

The group also plans to promote an IT park on 25 acres at Perur village at Chettipalayam in south Coimbatore district. Bannari Group plans to develop an IT SEZ over 78 acres at Kalapatty village in Coimbatore and has got formal approval for around 60 acres. The entire process is likely to be completed in the next few months. Salzer plans to develop 1 lakh sq.ft. IT park in association with a US-based consulting service provider while KG group has acquired around 160 acres near its existing campus at Saravanampatty for developing it as an ITES SEZ. I

According to sources in the property development business, by the end of 2009, approximately 10-15 million sq.ft, of new IT/ITeS space will enter the Coimbatore market.
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  • Airport expansion: land owners seek higher compensation Wilson Thomas
    COIMBATORE, JULY 05, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: JULY 05, 2018 03:45 IST

    Seventy-three residents and industry owners obtain stay orders from Madras HC
    Six years ago, the life of Saravana Kumar (name changed), an employee of Shivangi Clothing on Irugr Road at Chinniyampalayam, was going through a dark phase. Mr. Kumar’s family was ruined because of his alcoholism. But when when Vijay Vikraman, a Chinniyampalayam native, wanted to launch a start up after having worked several years in the IT industry in the U.S., he chose people like Mr. Kumar and several others as employees.

    Currently, at least 50 men, who underwent rehabilitation programme to quit alcohol, are working under Mr. Vikraman earning around Rs. 20,000 per month. But several local people like Mr. Kumar employed at start ups, small and medium industrial units at Chinniyampalayam village are worried over losing their job as locations of their workplaces are within the area marked by the Revenue Department for acquisition for the expansion of Coimbatore International Airport.

    At least 120 industries functioning at GKR Nagar near Chinniyampalayam are under the cloud of removal due to land acquisition. As per the current plan, the extended runway and the surrounding protected area will cross Chinnniyampalayam-Irugir road.

    According to industry and land owners at GKR Nagar, the rate fixed by the Revenue Department for residential (Rs. 1,500 per sq.ft.) and agricultural plots (Rs. 900 per sq.ft.) are not fair and far less than the existing market value.

    “GKR Nagar is barely 500 metre away from Avinashi road. While the market price is Rs. 9,000 per sq.f.t on Avinashi Road, the Government is offering us only Rs. 1,500 per sq.ft. for residential plots in GKR Nagar and other places. The existing machineries will have to be shifted to new location which require large amount of money,” said an industry owner.

    According to industry owners, the PWD which fixes value of the buildings to be demolished, has orally offered to pay Rs. 4,500 per square metre from which 10 % depreciation value and 10 % TDS will be deducted.

    “When required to shift to a new place, we will have to spend anywhere between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000 per sq.ft. for construction. With the current price offered by the Government, we will be forced to shut operations and lay off employees,” said another industry owner who manufactures textile machineries.

    As of now, 73 residents and industry owners have obtained stay orders from Madras High Court against acquiring their land due to these factors. “We are not against the expansion project. All what we ask for is a comprehensive compensation package that matches with the market value,” said owner of an industrial unit.

    According to Revenue Department, consent letters have been received from 90 % of 629 acres identified for acquisition spread over 24 blocks in four villages. “The fact is that 90 % of the land which the Revenue Department refers to are either agriculture land or barren land. Houses and industries are located in the remaining 10 % of land, owners of which are yet to sign consent letters hoping for a better package,” said an industry owner.

    Norms flaunted

    Apart from fixing price without conducting adequate levels of discussion with the land owners as per Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, environment impact analysis and social impact analysis are not done for the expansion project yet. Apart from the damage caused to the green cover, possible noise pollution caused by frequent movement of wide body aircraft post expansion have to be studied as per norms.


  • Families from CMC Colony may get separate houses
    Nivedha Selvam | TNN | Jul 7, 2018, 01:25 IST

    Coimbatore: Almost a week after the civic body issued eviction notices to CMC Colony residents to acquire land for Ukkadam flyover project, slum clearance board on Friday conducted another survey to identify the total number of families residing there. If everything goes well, each family would be allotted separate houses.

    Earlier, a total of 209 houses were given eviction notices and residents were allotted houses at a housing unit at Malumichampatti. “More than half the residents had agreed to relocate,” said a Tamil Nadu slum clearance board official.

    Residents, however, demanded separate houses for each family, saying two to three families were residing in a single house in the colony. “Presently, we are allotted only one house,” Nagammal, who is residing along with her daughter’s family in a single house, said.

    Pointing out that they had been living in a single house due to space constraints in the colony to construct another house as well as their inability to afford a rented house, she said, “We won’t be able to live like this at the Malumichampatti housing unit, which is smaller. We have been demanding officials to allot a house for a family.”

    After consulting the civic body, the slum clearance board has now decided to consider the demand. Officials from the slum clearance board, civic body and the state highway on Friday surveyed the houses to know exact number of families residing in the colony.

    “We are yet to take a final call on allotting each family a house,” the official said.

    Meanwhile, more than 75 people, who were removed from areas surrounding Valankulam lake, staged a protest at the corporation office, saying officials were yet to hand them over houses at Ukkadam housing unit, despite them making the payment.

    “As many as 1,500 families were evicted from these areas about five years ago. 300 families were allotted houses at Ukkadam housing unit. We had paid Rs 21,000 per house in November 2017,” a woman, who didn’t want to be named, said.

    While more than 792 families, who were allotted houses at Ammankullam housing unit, had given possession of houses about three years ago, we are yet to get houses, she said. “We are now residing at rented houses in the city and forced to pay both rent and interest on loan taken to pay deposit amount.”

    When contacted, an official said work on laying sewer pipelines were on and it would be completed within a week. “We will hand them over the houses after works get over,” the official said.


  • Mining department allays fear over iron ore site in Tirupur
    Rajasekaran RK | TNN | Updated: Jul 7, 2018, 09:40 IST

    C Ve Shanmugam (File photo)

    TIRUPUR: The geology and mining department has allayed the fears of residents of Pachapalayam near Vellakoil by clarifying that the recent inspection to set up an iron ore mine in the village by a central government enterprise was a routine process.

    State law and mining minister C Ve Shanmugam also said in the assembly that the government had not given any approval for setting up a mine at Pachapalayam. The minister gave this reply to a question raised by Kangeyam MLA U Thaniyarasu on the issue.

    A team from Kudremukh Iron Ore Company (KIOCL), a central government enterprise headquartered at Mangaluru, has inspected the iron ore site at Tirumankaradu near Poosarivalasu of Pachapalayam Panchayat in June. The inspection created fear among the residents as they assumed that the iron ore mine would be established.

    V N Moorthi, a farmer from Olapalayam said, “We heard that KIOCL has earmarked about 100 sqkm for the project, and it is likely that if the mine is established, they could drill or detonate the earth for hundreds of metres. It would affect the groundwater table and the ecology.”

    With minimum water resources provided through Parambikulam Aliyar Project and Lower Bhavani Project irrigation schemes, the people here are involved in agriculture. If the project comes up, agriculture could be in threat, he said.

    Many villagers were worried that they may be forced to leave their lands and lose their livelihood. “Most of them at Poosarivalasu are agricultural labourers and they do not have any properties other than their houses. If we would be evicted, our lives will be in peril,” said N Shanmugam, a resident.

    When contacted, a senior official associated with the geology and mining department told TOI: “KIOCL has carried out a routine survey as assigned by the National Mineral Exploration Trust to update about the iron ore resources in its data bank. The iron ore site at Tirumankaradu has been demarcated as earlier as in pre-independence period. It has also featured in P Krishnasami Ayyangar’s book - India’s Mineral Resources.”

    Emphasizing that the people need not to worry about it, the official said, “The purity of the iron ore at Tirumankaradu was only about 30% unlike at the mines set up at Jamshedpur and Ballari, where the purity is around 80-95%. So, there is no possibility for the central government to establish a mine at Tirumankaradu. The state government has not given any licence either. But the updating of the data bank on the minerals is important for the country’s planning.”


  • Biomethanisation plant to address pollution woes
    TNN | Updated: Jul 7, 2018, 09:15 IST

    COIMBATORE: A biomethanisation plant with a capacity to generate 1,000kg fertilizer a day will be commissioned at Periyanaickenpalayam within a couple of months.

    “The plant has completed a month-long trial period. The plant will be commissioned if it continues to run smoothly for another two months,” said J Daniel Challapa, senior scientist, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). He inspected the plant, which was set up by the civic body with the help of BARC, on Friday.

    During the trial period, biodegradable wastes were taken from nearby industries and canteen. Finer segregation of waste will take place at the plant and the digestion time of waste is 19 days. The plant will produce about 20-21kg methane gas a day. Pointing out that the local body has decided to produce electricity using the methane gas, Daniel said about 90-100 units of electricity would be generated a day and it would be used to power street lamps in the region.

    In addition, 1,000kg fertilizer would be produced per day from the plant that would be purely organic and free of weed and odour. “The plant would address the issue of soil, water and air pollution triggered by dumping biodegradable wastes into the ground, besides generating revenue,” the BARC scientist said.


  • Rs 8.2 crore for rejuvenating Noyyal and Vaigai rivers
    TNN | Updated: Jul 8, 2018, 05:24 IST

    Representative image

    COIMBATORE: The state government has accorded administrative approval and financial sanction worth Rs 8.2 crore for rejuvenating Noyyal and Vaigai rivers.

    A government order issued on June 29 said that the government has granted financial sanction for rejuvenation of the rivers for the year 2018-19. The government had accorded administrative sanction of Rs 24.8 crore for three years from 2016 -17 and the component sought for 2018 -19 was for Rs 8.2 crore.

    However, PWD officials as well as environmentalists say the amount was meagre compared to the extent of the work needs to be done. “Only Rs 2.7 crore will be allocated for work in Noyyal. This money would only suffice to carry out minor works at a few places along the stretch,” an official said.


  • Ooty plastic ban: Four items exempted temporarily
    TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 00:14 IST

    Udhagamandalam: Heeding to the plea of local merchants, the district administration has temporarily exempted four plastic items from the ban order till suitable alternatives are found.

    The exempted plastic items include plastic carry bags and wrappers above 51 microns thickness used for packing grocery, silver- foil containers used in hotels, plastic containers used in bakeries and chocolate shops and non-woven carry bags with wooden handles. The decision was taken in a recent meeting held at the Ooty collectorate.

    A special order was notified in the district gazette a few months ago banning 19 plastic items in the hill district. They included plastic carry bags irrespective of their thickness, plastic cups (disposable) and plates, paper cups, paper plates and plastic straws, besides PP-non-woven bags.

    However, super markets, including co-operative super markets in Ooty, bakeries and grocery shops were freely using plastic products for packing groceries and other items. On July 2, TOI had reported about the free use of plastic bags by the merchants in the Nilgiris.

    According to the president of the Nilgiri District Vanigar Sangangalin Peraimaippu, R Parameswaran, merchants in the Nilgiris could use plastic covers above 51 microns for the purpose of packing groceries. But it has been an oral understanding between the administration and the merchants. To make it official, a press release by collector J Innocent Divya stated that four plastic items are temporarily exempted from the ban order till suitable alternatives are found.

    While the order to ban plastic items including cups, plates and carry bags had been in effect since 2001, the subsequent administrations lacked the will to implement it.


  • Waste-laden truck released as villagers withdraw complaint
    TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 00:18 IST

    Tirupur: A tanker truck was caught dumping industrial waste from a coconut oil manufacturing unit in the Noyyal River near Kangeyam here recently. However, the unit owners got away without any legal hurdle as they allegedly wooed a section of villagers, who withdrew their complaint, by offering money.

    On Friday night, a tanker truck was found parked on Arachalur bridge at Puthuvengaraiyanpalayam. When a few villagers approached it, they found the truck driver was about to dump chemical waste into the river. They seized the vehicle and handed it over to the Kangeyam police.

    During inquiry, it was found that chemical waste was brought from a coconut oil unit at Thottipatti. “The tanker was painted to look like a water tanker,” a farmer, who didn’t want to be named, told TOI. “Some companies often draw water from the river. We had noticed this tanker before, but thought it was drawing water.”

    The tanker truck seized on Friday night was handed over to police and the villagers, including a few political party workers, also lodged a complaint with the Kangeyam police.

    “But the issue was ‘settled’ after the owners of the oil unit paid a few lakh rupees to a section of people,” another farmer said.

    When contacted, a police officer said they hadn’t registered a first information report as the villagers have withdrawn the compliant.

    A Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board official told TOI that when they visited the spot they did not find any trace of chemical waste. “Also, the villagers did not respond to our queries,” he said.


  • Vendors want to be in the centre of the city
    tnn | Jul 9, 2018, 00:35 IST

    Coimbatore: State municipal administration minister S P Velumani on Sunday inaugurated the new fruit market near the slaughter house at Ukkadam.

    The minister said the district has been witnessing several developmental activities, including construction of flyovers and 24x7 water supply schemes.

    Preference is being given to construction of quality roads across the city, he said, adding that a proposal has been sent to establish a world class cricket stadium and it will be set up soon.

    While about 24 shops were constructed on the corporation land for wholesale vendors, the 70-odd retail vendors would be temporarily set up on an extent of 1.5-acre on the ground.

    Earlier, the vendors had set up shops on the corporation land near the Perur bypass road. The market was relocated as the corporation had handed over the land to the state highways department for construction of the Ukkadam flyover project.

    For the project, a 4-lane flyover would be constructed from Vincent Road Junction to Karumbukadai Junction for about 1.48km, while it would have a loop opposite to old Vincent Road for about 388 metres and a two-way lane from Naaz theatre to Vincent Road for about 248 metres, according to officials in the highways department.

    Apart from removing the fruits shops between Naaz theatre and the Ukkadam police station, the civic body has issued eviction notices to 209 houses at CMC Colony.

    “The land was allotted to us based on our request to the civic body,” said Faizal, joint secretary of the Fruits and Vegetable Sellers’ Welfare Association, adding that they had selected the place as it was the only corporation land available for rent in the heart of the city.

    He said they were selling fruits to three other states, including Kerala and Karnataka, and they wanted the market in the centre of the city to do good business. Besides, they could not afford to pay huge rent for a private parcel of land.

    While the rent per shop was just Rs3,000 a month, the rent for using the corporation ground was Rs2.5 lakh a month. Faizal said the vendors would share the rent. “Also, we have constructed our own shops and spent over Rs2 lakh for construction of each shop.

  • 2 smart city projects get administrative nod
    Nivedha Selvam | TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 00:16 IST

    Coimbatore: The city corporation is all set to implement two of its ambitious projects under the smart city mission with a standing committee giving administrative sanction for the multi-level car parking facility at DB Road and 3.6 megawatts solar power plant at Ukkadam.

    Tenders would be floated for the projects as soon as the technical sanction is obtained, a senior official from the civic body said, adding that the implementation time for the projects is about 18 months.

    Explaining that the multi-level car parking facility will be set up at a cost of Rs 42 crore, the official said that the four-level facility will be able to accommodate upto 370 four-wheelers. “An automated mechanism, where human intervention is minimal, will be set up. Vehicles will be lifted from the ground and moved to the vacant parking spaces above. Workers will be appointed only for gate keeping,” he told TOI.

    The solar power plant will be set up on a 15-acre land near the sewage treatment plant (STP) at Ukkadam. “The plant will be constructed at a cost of Rs 17 crore. It will have 11,286 solar panels, each of which can produce 320 watts. Power generated at the plants will be transferred to the main grid of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s (Tangedco) sub-station at Ukkadam. It will be used to offset the electricity bills of the city corporation,” the official said.

    The civic body had been paying over Rs 20 crore per annum to Tangedco for power, including that used at the two STPs at Ukkadam and Ondipudur, along with the water treatment and pumping stations at Velliankadu and Pillur.

    “By offsetting the electricity bills for water treatment and pumping station at Velliankadu, the civic body will be able to save Rs 5.8 crore per annum on electricity bills,” the official added.


  • 1,093 cameras to keep a watch on you while you drive
    TNN | Jul 11, 2018, 00:46 IST

    The city police are seeking Rs 75 crore under the smart city project to bring the city under complete surveillance. The traffic police plan to install adoptive traffic signals where advanced cameras are to be fixed. The cameras will detect the number of vehicles in traffic signals and based on this it will operate the signals automatically. Police also plan to install speed detector cameras and 38 automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. These will send details of speeding vehicles to the modern police control room. Violators will be issued e-challan by post and the motorists will have to pay the fine through banks, post offices or courts. After getting clearance from the corporation, police will install cameras across the city for round-the-clock surveillance.

    The proposal has been sent to the city municipal corporation. “We plan to buy 1,093 advanced cameras for surveillance of the entire city and they will be used for maintenance of law & order and crime prevention and detection. We also plan to buy 38 ANPR cameras which will be fixed on the city border areas and major junctions. This will capture the number plates of all vehicles and will help police identity stolen vehicles,” said a senior police officer.

    In adoptive traffic signals, the camera will operate the signals automatically based on the vehicle numbers passing through. “So, we don’t have to deploy policemen for traffic regulation at the signals,” said Sujit Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Coimbatore city.

    Speed detector cameras will be installed on Avinashi Road, Trichy Road and other important areas. “Speeding is the main reason for fatal accidents. These cameras can spot violators and action can be taken against them,” said Sujit Kumar.

    Many vehicle users ignore traffic signals. Police plan to install red light violation and detection cameras at traffic signals to help spot traffic red light violators.

    “After getting funds under the smart city project, the entire city will be covered with modern and advanced cameras,” he said.

  • Ooty residents want officials to relay Marlimund Road
    TNN | Jul 11, 2018, 00:44 IST

    Udhagamandalam: Residents of Havelock Road in Ooty on Tuesday urged municipal officials to relay Marlimund Road from Commissioner Road junction as it was dug up for cable laying works. They also said the concrete footpath close to St Stephen’s Church on Marlimund Road was used by people to defecate and blamed it on official apathy.

    T Rangaiah, a local resident, told TOI, “From St Stephen’s Church junction, the condition of Marlimund Road is very bad. Both the sides of road are not laid properly after it was dug up for laying cables. Ooty municipality is responsible for the road. But has turned a blind eye to the issue, despite repeated complaints.” Pointing out that the concrete footpath near St Stephen’s Church helps pedestrians to save time when they move from lower road to upper one, Rangaiah said, “People use the footpath to defecate as bushes cover the path.”

    “The condition of other main roads such as Walsham Road and Ettinnes Road are also pathetic. Encroachments on these roads should be removed immediately,” said an activist.TNN

  • Flood alert sounded to people living along the banks of Bhavani River
    tnn | Jul 11, 2018, 01:27 IST

    Coimbatore: The district administration on Tuesday sounded flood alert to people living on the banks of Bhavani as the water level in Bhavani Sagar dam touched 80ft against its full capacity of 110ft. A total of 205cusecs water was released from the dam on Tuesday. The district administration has urged people to move to safer places.

    Meanwhile, Siruvani reservoir overflowed on Tuesday after a gap of five years, thanks to copious southwest monsoon rainfall in its catchment areas. Pointing out that water level in the reservoir had increased to 40ft from 15ft in just four days during the pre-monsoon showers, officials said now the reservoir has been filled to its maximum storage capacity of 50ft and is overflowing.

    This would ensure that the city would not face water issues for the next six months, said Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) officials. Surplus water from the Siruvani reservoir would flow into the Bhavani River and finally reach Pillur reservoir, they said.

    Also, a total of 6,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) water was released from the Pillur reservoir as the inflow to it has been increased following incessant rainfall in its catchment areas for the past few days.

    Kovai Kuttralam falls remained closed for public on Tuesday, as it was flooded with rainwater.

    In another instance, collector declared holiday for schools in Valparai for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as heavy rain continued to lash the area. Cincona area in Valparai received 78mm rainfall, Chinnakallar 82mm and Parambikulam Aliyar Project, 42mm. The inflow to Sholayar dam in Valparai was recorded at 4,136cusecs.


  • ‘Repair work at Dolphin's Nose delayed due to bad weather’
    tnn | Jul 11, 2018, 01:24 IST

    Udhagamandalam: A damaged portion of the barricade at the periphery of Dolphin’s Nose View, one of the tourist attractions in the Nilgiris, is posing danger to tourists. A part of periphery of the viewpoint was also collapsed in the heavy rain last month.

    Residents and tourist guides complained that no action was taken so far. However, officials said repair works had begun a week ago and were delayed due to recent rain in the area.

    Dolphin's Nose, about 1,000 feet above sea level, falls under the forest department.

    “It is very scary. The periphery was partially collapsed in last month’s rains. A section of barricade is also damaged. It is a matter of concern, but the officials show a lethargic attitude,” said a tourist guide on condition of anonymity.

    On the other hand, Periyasamy, Coonoor forest range officer told TOI, “We have started repair works a week ago. But due to inclement weather, work could not be carried out. First, we will fix the collapsed portion at the edge of the view point, and then the barricade will be replaced.”

    He said forest watchers are deputed to monitor visitors as a precautionary measure.

  • Will Rs 150-crore rejuvenation project save Noyyal river from pollution?
    Rajasekaran RK | Rajasekaran.RK@timesgroup.com | Jul 12, 2018, 00:36 IST

    Tirupur: The proposed Rs 150-crore Noyyal river rejuvenation project is expected to play a major role in addressing the issue of pollution of waterbodies in the district.

    However, the project has to be planned and implemented meticulously as otherwise it wouldn’t serve the very purpose of safeguarding one of the highly-polluted rivers.

    Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had said in the assembly that his government would go about the rejuvenation project by constructing retaining walls on either side of the Noyyal, along with baby canals, to prevent sewage water from entering the river. Plans to desilt the waterbody and strengthen the existing check dams are also in the scheme of things, besides setting up pedestrian path and a few sewage treatment plants along the river.

    “The plan is to construct retaining walls to strengthen the bunds on either side of the river from Andipalayam to Kasipalayam. Out of the total 14km stretch, the project will cover just a little more than 7km stretch. The remaining stretch will be covered under the corporation’s smart city mission,” Tirupur south MLA S Gunasekaran told TOI.

    Pointing out that the recently approved Rs 523-crore underground drainage system scheme might not help in preventing sewage water from the newly-added wards and neighbouring civic bodies entering the river, he said baby canals would address the issue. “The baby canals may come with pedestrian path atop it, or the canals could be constructed separately alongside the pedestrian path.”

    However, many feel that it won’t be easy to prevent sewage water or untreated industrial effluents from entering the river. “There are about 70 major drain points in the river. More than 50MLD untreated sewage water enters the river from the dollar city alone. Another 100MLD sewage water is released from Coimbatore city, where there a number of sewage treatment plants. So, unless the underground drainage system and sewage treatment plants are implemented properly, it will be impossible to prevent pollution,” said a government official, who didn’t want to be named.

    “ Rs 150 crore will not be enough for constructing retaining walls, baby canals and STPs,” said another government official, requesting anonymity.

    Another challenge is the various settlements along the river banks. There are more than seven settlements within Tirupur city alone and they should be evicted to implement the project.

    Tirupur CPM district secretary S Muthukannan said it was important to save Noyyal river from pollution and the proposed project should be implemented only in consultation with experts, industrialists and political parties.


  • SC asks for plan of action to deal with encroachments in Nilgiris elephant corridor TNN | Updated: Jul 13, 2018, 10:35 IST

    Representative image

    UDHAGAMANDALAM: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Nilgiris collector to come out with a plan of action to deal with new resorts that have come up within the Moyar valley elephant corridor after the Madras High Courtpassed an order in 2009 seeking a status report of steps taken to removeencroachments.

    After the hearing, the bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the Nilgiris collector has to draw up a plan of action in connection with the resorts, if any, that have come up after the high court directed the collector to file a status report showing the steps taken to remove all the encroachments from revenue land which have been identified for development of the elephant corridor. The bench adjourned the case to August 8, 2018. However, no order was passed in this regard.

    The court observed that 27 elephant corridors are located in 22 states across the country, of which only six states have submitted reports to the Union government.

    The Moyar valley elephant corridor case is pending in the Supreme Court for the past six years and the Tamil Nadu government has submitted counter affidavits for 32 special leave petitions.

    Based on four orders by the high court between 2008 and 2010, the state government issued an order via GO no. 125 dated August 31, 2010 confirming the elephant corridor map published on January 6, 2010. The map was prepared by an expert committee that included forest officials. However, patta land owners approached the Supreme Court with about 32 special leave petitions against the high court orders.

    As per the Nilgiris gazette notification dated July 6, 2011 in compliance with the high court order dated December 3, 2009, the map of the final elephant corridor extended to 24,503.86 hectares, comprising Sholur, Masinagudi, Hulathi and Kadanadu panchayats, in Segur plateau of the Nilgiris. While forest land accounts for the major portion of 21,625 hectares, the extent of government and patta land stands at 1,185 and 1,692 hectares respectively. A few tribal hamlets also fall within the purview of the corridor. The 1,692 hectares of patta land comprise 397 survey numbers, including tea estates.
    Welcoming the Supreme Court direction, Coimbatore-based activist K Mohan Raj said the state government should not delay demolition of more than 400 resorts that have come up in the corridor area illegally. This place in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve holds the single largest population of Asian elephants and the tigers in the world. “By saving elephant and other wildlife, we can save our forests and secure our water till the Cauvery basin,” he said.