Madurai: The Madras High Court bench here Tuesday reserved orders on a PIL challenging the Centre`s notification permitting tourism related activities at the Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
The petitioner, an NGO, argued that permitting tourism activities in and around the tiger reserve would defeat the object of ?Project Tiger,? a scheme implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests since 1973 for ensuring a viable population of tiger in the country for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values.
Lajapathi Roy, counsel for the petitioner, S Ramesh, Managing Trustee of SWASAM Trust, said the Centre had issued a notification on October 15, 2012 laying down guidelines for tourism activities around the tiger reserve.
Later, the government issued a notification on February 18, 2013 permitting tourism-related activities, including boat-riding in Karaiyar Dam and driving up to upper Kodayar area, the core area of the reserve.
Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) K K Senthilvelan opposed the petition contending the Centre had issued the notification as per the Granite Conservation and Protection Rules, 1999.
The petitioner, a member of a Local Advisory Committee for Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, said allowing vehicles inside the core area of the reserve would affect breeding of tigers and permitting other tourism-related activities near the tiger reserve would prove disastrous to the wildlife and ecosystem in the Reserve.