HC upholds Environment Min order for closure of theme park

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Kochi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today upheldUnion Environment Ministry''s order shutting down a CPI-M-controlled mangroove theme park in Kannur, holding that itviolated coastal regulation zone notification and green rules.

Dismissing a petition by the Eco Tourism Society inPappinassery challenging the ministry''s action, a divisionbench comprising Chief Justice J Chelemeswar and JusticeThomas P Joseph said the fragile ecology of the area had to beprotected and preserved.

The court said activities undertaken by the Societyviolated the provisions of 1991 CRZ notificiation andenvironmental protection rules and it cannot give its assentto the society''s activities in the property.

The court ratified the authority of the EnvironmentMinistry to issue a notice and further proceedings against theSociety.

The bench said that having regard to the nature ofactivities the Society has undertaken in the area, "we have nohesitation to hold that it comes within the expression ofindustry".

From the documents produced by the government, it isrevealed that the theme park is established in the stretch ofmangroove forest on the banks of Valapatnam river and itsbranches.

The Society contended it was not given an opportunity to beheard and challenged the authority of the Additional Directorof the Ministry of Environment and Forest to initiateproceedings.

The high court had on August 19 stayed the EnvironmentMinistry''s order directing closure of the park.

The park has been in the eye of a storm right from thestart with environmental groups protesting its construction,saying it will harm the mangroves on the banks of Valapattanamriver, which face degradation.

The Environment Ministry''s action had also triggered a spatbetween CPI-M led LDF and Congress heading the UDF in thestate.

The Society had planned to develop the facility into amajor aqua-tourism spot in north Kerala.

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