Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday asked authorities not to remove 'Seemai Karuvalam' (Prosopis Juliflorais) trees till further orders, as the matter has been referred to a larger bench.
The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave the direction, while putting on hold the court's earlier order for removal of the trees, alleged to be harmful to the ecosystem.
The bench gave its directions on a plea by Meganathan, an advocate, seeking to forebear the authorities from drastically removing the trees.
"Since the matter has been referred to a larger bench, no further action should be taken by the official respondents with regard to the removal of Semmai Karuvalam trees," the bench said in its order and posted the matter for further haring on May 11.
The court also issued notice to the director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, which has an abundance of Prosopis Juliflorais trees across its 630 acre campus, forming a large variety of wild life.
The IIT-M authorities too want part of the abundance growth of these trees on the campus to be curtailed to pave way for building some students hostel and other facilities.
Arguing that the tree has been found useful in providing for the fuel, fodder and shade and construction material in the rural areas and playing a crucial role in stabilising soil and breaking wind, advocate Meganathan said asserted that its negative effect on the ecosystem is yet to be proved scientifically.
The drastic eradication of trees in absence of any scientific study will have an adverse impact on the environment due to sudden loss of green cover and reduction in the carbon sequestration, the petitioner said.
Carbon sequestration is a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.
Stating that the plant has also excessive source for firewood and production of paper and cardboard, the petitioner said the spices from the plant has been known to medicinal values.
The 630-acre IIT Madras campus is home to spotted deer, black bucks, monkeys, monitor lizards, star tortoises, many spices of snakes and about 120 species of birds, 60 species of butterflies and 300 species of plants and trees, the petitioner said adding that all of these co-exist with prosopis trees.