August 1, 2017
The Madras High Court has directed the State Government to chalk out a plan for removal of ‘Seemai Karuvelam’ trees from water bodies in a phased manner. The direction follow a Public Interest Litigation filed by an advocate A. Meghanathan, who sought to forebear authorities from drastically removing the trees without any scientific proof on their negative aspects.
Seemai Karuvelam (Prosopis Juliflorais) trees are harmful to the ecology as they turned land dry by sucking ground water. Seemai Karuvelam were in demand in 1960s, as they proved to be an efficient source of firewood. “But we live in a different world today; we do not need firewood for cooking anymore. The trees have grown everywhere and cannot be destroyed easily. Before the interim stay, activists and environmental organisations were tirelessly in uprooting the trees. The order has slowed down the process,” said V. Eeswar of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).
Asked about the difference between Seemai Karuvelam trees and Karuvelam trees, he said, “the difference is very much visible. Native species Karuvelam trees have a perfect tree structure unlike Seemai Karuvelam which has a plant-like structure. People are aware of this, still some people are cutting down the Karuvelam trees for its commercial value,” said Eeswar.
“The High Court has permitted the felling of Seemai Karuvelam trees and very soon environmental organisations will start working towards the same,” said K Kalidasan, President of Osai, an environmental organisation.