|Actor Mithun Chakraborthy|
Chakraborty, once famous as the Disco Dancer, has moved the Supreme Court in a bid to save hisresort that falls in an important elephant corridor in Tamil Nadu that connects the Eastern Ghats with the Western Ghats.
The Madras high court had ordered that the land falling in the corridor be taken over by the forest department and the resorts be demolished. Chakraborty’s resort is one of the many falling in the patch of land that elephant herds use to cross from one mountain to another.
The actor’s basis for the plea in the court is as unique as his dialogue delivery. He has claimed that the resort provides employment to tribals, and its part of the backbone of eco-tourism in the area. It provides alternative source of income for tribals throughout the year. This, Chakraborty claims, has led to reduced poaching and firewood collection from the forests, where the elephants roam.
Suggesting that the damage to the forests was more from tribals than his resort, he has claimed that his property is having a benevolent impact on the tribals. “They now realize that the well being of the wildlife and jungles they live in constitute the primary source of their income,” he has contended.
He has also made the point that the Madras HC has ordered that the land on which the hotel stands be acquired without awarding any compensation.
The HC had said the guest house owners had indulged in eco-destruction in the name of eco-tourism. However, the court had given some relaxation to tribal communities in keeping with the Forest Rights Act, but asked the state forest department to take over the resorts and other constructions in the belt.
Other hoteliers and land owners in the area have also moved the apex court on the matter. Chakraborty has claimed that the area, which the Tamil Nadu forest department has been ordered to acquire, is far greater than had been earlier surveyed to be in use as the elephants’ corridor. The forest department had told the HC that the hotels were operating in violation of the Tamil Nadu preservation of private forests’ Act.