Activist alleges ‘help’ from panchayat chief to illegal resorts in MTR

Lawyer and environment activist ‘Elephant’ G. Rajendran has written to the District Collector expressing his apprehensions that the Masinagudi village panchayat president was ‘helping’ people running illegal resorts and home-stays in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).

In his petition, Mr. Rajendran alleged that the Masinagudi village panchayat president was ‘attempting to help the violators’ instead of taking action against them.

“It is learnt that the Block Development Officer and others visited and tried to lock and seal some illegal resorts and home-stays. By mutual understanding with the president and others, the officials returned without taking action.

It appears that the officials are also colluding with the violators and refusing to execute their power in accordance with law,” said Mr. Rajendran in his petition.

The activist, who led the fight against illegal resorts and home-stays in the tiger reserve, called on the Collector to act against the village panchayat president and ensure that all illegal resorts and home-stays were sealed.

Mr. Rajendran also wrote to the Nilgiris district police to reconsider their decision to allow traffic to descend to the tiger reserve via Kalhatti Ghat Road.

He highlighted to the Nilgiris SP, V. Sasi Mohan, that the road was closed after ‘deep discussions’ in the interests of the safety of the public after a number of accidents. Mr. Rajendran said reopening the road would lead to massive environment problem in the region and also help bring business to illegal resorts and home-stays there. He also said it would lead to more accidents and increase the number of human-animal confrontations.

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