Tamil Nadu firm seeks permission to sell jackfruit grown in BRT reserve

Tamil Nadu firm seeks permission to sell jackfruit grown in BRT reserve

Emerald Haven Estates Ltd, a Tamil Nadu-based company, has filed an interlocutory application before the High Court on Friday seeking directions to the forest department to allow them to transport jackfruit grown in their coffee plantation to the local market.

Emerald had approached the High Court seeking quashing of the state government notices which declared the coffee plantation area as Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the BRT tiger reserve. The petitioners contended that they have been in the business of coffee plantation on 320 acres of land for the past 250 years. They contended that the sanctuary area and the 500-odd jackfruit trees in the area belong to them. The petitioner has contended that the forest department was objecting to the company transporting jackfruit to the local market.

The government counsel however said the coffee plantation itself is an encroachment of forest land and that Emerald does not have documents to claim the land. The counsel said that wild elephants and other wild animals have a better right over the jack fruits than the petitioner.

The petitioner contended that they were granted around 320 acres of land during the British era somewhere around 1870s and 1880s, but don’t possess certain documents to claim that the coffee estate belongs to them. The forest department had granted permission to carry out agricultural activities. However, subsequently in January 2011, through a notification, the entire BRT sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve and all kind of activities, including agricultural, were banned.

The petitioners sought directions to quash the notice issued to them in December 2015 as well as the notification of January 2011.  A division bench comprising Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath directed the government to file their objections in 10 days.

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