Thursday, January 27, 2011

Green trouble for film, collector orders removal of set

The latest movie of Udhayanidhi Stalin, " Ezham Arivu" ( Seventh Sense), has run into "green" trouble here. Following protests by environmental activists, the Coimbatore district collector has directed that the palatial sets raised for the film within the waters of a check dam at Nandankarai near the city be removed. Activists and local farmers had alleged that the sets made of plaster of paris were polluting the check dam.

For the last one week, about 100 workers have been creating a palace, pillars and a temple for the "Ezham Arivu" movie being produced by Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of deputy chief minister M.K.Stalin. The shooting for the movie starring Surya and Sruti, daughter of actor Kamal Hassan, was to begin later this month.

However, as the shooting sets located close to the reserve forest area threatened to contaminate the check dam which stores the Siruvani river water, local environmental groups raised serious objections.

"We have directed the removal of the sets which were put up on the revenue land inside the check dam without taking the permission of the revenue authorities," district collector P.Umanath told TOI.

The Nandakarai check dam at the foothills of Western Ghats was the first such government project constructed by an NGO. The Rural Administration department had given the construction contract to an environmental group Siruthuli to build the dam at a cost of Rs.1.28 crore. The check dam, constructed about two years ago, stores the rain water and irrigates farm lands in and around Nandankarai. "A variety of mammals including leopards, gaurs and even a tiger have been spotted near the check dam. Erecting a shooting set in the Nandankarai dam is highly objectionable," said K.Kalidasan of the local environmental group, OSAI

The film production company, Red Giants, had got the permission from the local Madhvarayapuram village panchayat for shooting the film in the village for 30 days. "However, they had raised the sets in the revenue land for which they had not obtained any permission," the collector said.

As the shooting location was close to the Bolvampatty reserve forests in the Coimbatore forest division the film company had obtained a no objection certificate from the Forest department. " We have not given them permission for shooting inside the reserve forests. The NOC is for shooting near the reserve forest," Coimbatore DFO V.Thirunavukkarasu said.

Last week, another film shooting inside the Sathyamangalam jungles, a proposed tiger reserve, had attracted the ire of environmental groups. Activists had raised objections to the Forest department granting permission for film shooting in forest areas, causing disturbance to wild animals.

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