Advocates panel to report on Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam Nati
: The Kerala High Court has set up a three-member advocates' commission to inspect and report on a complaint that large areas on the periphery of the Eravikulam National Park was being planted with eucalyptus.

A division bench of the Court, comprising of the Chief Justice H. L. Dattu and Justice K. T. Sankaran directed the Forest Department to provide necessary assistance, protection and accommodation to the commissioners for the inspection. P. P. Jnanasekharan, A. K. Syed Mohammed and R. Vinod were named as commissioners.

Ban order:
The case relates to an order issued by the Court in 1993 prohibiting planting of black wattle within three km from the National Park in a public interest writ petition filed in 1992. Petitioner K. Nandini of Environmental Protection Council, Kochi, has contended that the forest authorities are attempting to plant some areas in violation of the stay order of the Court, which was still in force. This would harm the ecologically fragile high altitude shola grasslands of the Park.

The Forest Department had begun large scale planting of grasslands around Munnar about half a century ago. The grasslands near the Park were planted with black wattle in the eighties. The wattle had a deleterious effect on the soil as its leaves contained tannin, which increased the acidity of the soil. gathers that complaint has arisen over planting at a captive plantation falling in the Munnar Forest Division.

(Picture shows Nilgiri tahrs grazing.A patch of dried up kurinji plants is in foreground and neighouring plantation is in the background.)
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