National Green Tribunal (NGT): A Division Bench of K. Ramakrishnan (Judicial Member) and Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Member), directed to stop the cutting of coconut trees in Agabatti Island Lakshadweep and ordered to maintain status quo.

Main Grievance

Indiscriminate cutting of coconut trees in Agatti Island, Lakshadweep for the purpose of formation of beach road which is against the Integrated Island Management Plan of Lakshadweep which was formulated on the basis of the report of the Expert Committee headed by Justice R.V. Raveendran, former Judge of Supreme Court of India appointed by the Supreme Court, in this regard.

Due to the cutting of trees, local residents are not only affected by losing their income but also it would affect the environment as trees standing along the coastal line act as a green belt to protect the land during natural calamities.

Bench in view of the above, stated that a substantial question of the environment arises which requires tribunal’s interference.

Tribunal appointed a Joint Committee to assess the damage that is likely to be caused.

The Committee is also directed to go into the question as to whether there was any violation of the Integrated Island Management Plan of Lakshadweep approved by the Lakshadweep Administration.

Status report is to be submitted by 3-11-2020 and till then respondent 3 and 4 are directed to maintain status quo and not to cut any coconut trees till the next hearing date. [Agatti Island, Lakshadweep v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine NGT 219, decided on 30-07-2020]

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