E-Pass mandate extended for tourists visiting Kodai, Nilgiris

The Madras High Court has extended the e-pass mandate for tourists visiting The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal until the end of September. This measure allows the state to gather data on the number of tourist vehicles visiting these popular hill stations during the off-season.
A special bench comprising Justice N Sathish Kumar and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy presided over the cases concerning the protection of forest and biodiversity in these regions. The extension of the e-pass requirement aims to assist in monitoring and managing the environmental impact of tourism.
Advocate General (AG) PS Raman presented a status report on the e-pass mandate’s implementation. He highlighted that nodal agencies, IIT Madras and IIM Bangalore, have been tasked with collecting data on tourist vehicle numbers to establish a framework for determining the carrying capacity of these hill stations. The AG advocated for the extension of the e-pass requirement to facilitate ongoing data collection.
Following the submission, the bench directed the state to extend the e-pass mandate until September 30, ensuring continued monitoring and management efforts.
In a related matter, the court addressed the enforcement of fines for tourists carrying plastic bottles in violation of restrictions. It was noted that, unlike The Nilgiris, the Dindigul district administration was not imposing fines on violators.
The bench instructed the Dindigul district collector to enforce the fine collection from tourists violating the plastic bottle ban. Additionally, both district collectors were directed to file status reports on the amount of green tax collected and the measures taken to utilize these funds for environmental preservation.
Tourists planning to visit Kodaikanal and The Nilgiris must obtain an e-pass until the end of September. This requirement not only helps manage tourist inflow but also aids in preserving the ecological balance of these scenic destinations.
The court’s directives underscore the importance of sustainable tourism practices and the need for stringent measures to protect the unique biodiversity of Kodaikanal and The Nilgiris. Tourists are urged to comply with the e-pass mandate and plastic restrictions to contribute to the conservation efforts.