The Madurai bench of the Chennai High court directed the state government on 27 February 2017 to pass a special law to uproot the harmful seemai karuvelam trees (prosopis juliflora). The judgement followed a PIL filed by MDMK leader Vaiko.
The directive was given by a bench consisting of Justices, A Selvam and P Kaliarasan, who observed that only 15 per cent of the trees had been removed up until now. Along with asking the state government to pass a law with prohibitory and penal clauses, the bench also directed it to release perennial funds to the state’s district collectors for the complete removal of the trees.
About the Seemai Karuvelam Tree
• It is a specie native to West Africa and was brought to Tamil Nadu in 1960s as fuelwood.
• It disrupts the ecosystem by soaking in all the ground water near it.
• It has infiltrated the water bodies and dry lands of Tamil Nadu.
Earlier this month, the high court bench had ordered for the removal of the trees from thirteen districts that fall under its jurisdiction following the filing of batches of complaints. Some of the districts included Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Thanjavur and Sivagangai Theni.
The complaints were filed after the adverse effect of the tree on agricultural activities.
The bench has now extended the order to the entire state and said that it would be conducting surprise inspections and any lapse in the progress of the action would be viewed seriously.