The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday ordered issue of notice to the State and Union governments on a PIL petition seeking direction for banning sand extraction and establishment of homestays and resorts in the ecologically sensitive areas of the Western Ghats zones in the State.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S.R. Krishna Kumar passed the order on the petition filed by Geetha Mishra, a city-based advocate. The petitioner has also sought a direction to the authorities to constitute a State Western Ghats Ecology Authority as recommended by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. She pointed out that illegal use of ecologically sensitive areas resulted in landslips in Kodagu in 2018.
“Owing to severe fall in coffee prices and growth, coffee plantations have made way for resorts and homestays. It is respectfully submitted that the authorities are closing their eyes and allowing illegal and unauthorised constructions in the once pristine Western Ghats,” the petitioner contended.