Two days after a Supreme Court order said that 39 resorts on the Sigur plateau in Nilgiris district should produce documents to show construction permissions, the District administration is set to begin sealing 27 illegal operations on Sunday.
Owners were served closure notices and told to remove possessions on Saturday, according to The Hindu.
On Thursday, The Supreme Court directed the Tamil Nadu government to seal or close 12 resorts constructed in the Nilgiris Elephant corridor if they do not produce the relevant documents within 48 hours. The order also gave two months time to 27 other resorts built in the corridor to submit valid documents for the land. But the district administration led by Collector J Innocent Divya has interpreted the order as an immediate crackdown on the resorts.
According to ToI, of the 27 illegal resorts, 11 have been functioning without requisite approvals, while the others have set up commercial operations with the licenses meant for residential houses. The resort complexes here have about two to 27 cottages each and employ over 200 people.
Nilgiris Collector J Innocent Divya told TOI, â€œWe have issued notices to all the 27 resort buildings. We will start the sealing process on Sunday."
The order was given by a bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice S Abdul Nazeer who all expressed displeasure over the constructions. The court was hearing a batch of pleas relating to elephant corridors across India. The resorts identified by the court are said to be among 821 illegal structures on the Sigur plateau.
"An elephant is supposed to be a national heritage animal. This is how we treat our national heritage," Justice Lokur remarked.
In 2010, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had declared elephant a National Heritage Animal in order to help conserve the country's nearly 29,000 elephant population. The court, which was earlier told that several hotels and resorts had come up in the elephant corridor areas of Tamil Nadu, had ordered that no construction activity would be carried out in those areas.