The Madras High court stated that the government has to plan for preserving Kodaikanal's unique natural heritage.
Are you planning a trip to Kodaikanal? Travellers and tourists, take note of the Madras High Court’s recent direction that solid waste by the hotel industry and the inhabitants of the region can no longer be dumped in Kodaikanal. Wondering what this is all about? Check the following details and understand why the Madras High Court has made strong statements with regard to pollution and illegal construction activity in the region.
Recently, the Madras High Court has cracked down on illegal construction-related activity in Kodaikanal. Taking judicial notice of the fact that Kodaikanal has been already polluted and damaged enough, the Madras High Court observed that ‘we must at least preserve what is left.’ The court further stated that the government has to plan for preserving Kodaikanal’s unique natural heritage.
Stating that a mechanical and routine approach cannot be adopted, the Bench stated as follows: “One goes to Kodaikanal to enjoy the beauty of nature. Before it becomes an eyesore, the situation has to be remedied. Otherwise, Kodaikanal will cease to be what it is…. Kodaikanal is not one more piece of rural or urban land. It is a unique ecosystem by itself. Therefore, the imperatives will have to be altogether different.”
The court has also directed the District Collector of Dindigul to submit a report to certify that no unauthorised or illegal construction or any polluting activity is taking place in the region once in every six months. The District Collector’s report has to also be published on the Tamil Nadu government website, as per the Madras High Court order.
In this case, the petitioner is the Kodaikanal Hotel and Resort Owners Association. The petitioner’s main contention is that as per section 32(2) (b) of Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972), its Master Plan is required to be updated once in five years but according to the petitioner, the old Master Plan is now outdated and therefore, the statutory mandate as per the Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972 has not been honoured.
What is Kodaikanal famous for?
Kodaikanal is a thriving and popular tourist spot, which is located at a height over 7000 feet above the sea level and it is a part of the Palani hills. With scenic views, unique flora and fauna, lush greenery and fresh air, Kodaikanal is a favourite hill-top destination for students, newly married couples, families and domestic and international tourists.
Known for its forests, grasslands, waterfalls and natural streams, the Kodaikanal lake is also a favourite spot for many filmmakers who are keen to shoot romantic songs.
Cracking down strongly on illegal constructions taking place in Kodaikanal, the court also stated, “Time has come to fix personal liability on the officials and make them accountable.”
Besides the 150-year-old man-made lake of Kodaikanal, the picturesque hill station is known for its old-world colonial charm, the 180 foot waterfall known as Silver Cascade, and of course, the famed ‘Neelakurinji’ flower that has been the star attraction for not just tourists but even filmmakers, artists, photographers and writers simply because it blooms only once in 12 years.