• The Supreme Court appointed conservationist Nandita Hazarika as Member of a Technical Committee constituted by it on October 14, 2020 to hear complaints by land owners against the action taken by the Nilgris Collector, which included “arbitrary variance in acreage of the elephant corridor


  • Sigur Plateau is a plateau in the north and east of Nilgiri District in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu.
  • It connects the Western and the Eastern Ghats and sustains elephant populations and their genetic diversity.
  • It has the Nilgiri Hills on its southwestern side and the Moyar River Valley on its north-eastern side. 
  • The elephants cross the plateau in search of food and water




  • In October 2020, SC had upheld the Tamil Nadu government’s authority to notify an ‘elephant corridor’ and protect the migratory path of the animals through the Nilgiri biosphere reserve.The SC had said it was the State’s duty to protect a “keystone species” such as elephants, immensely important to the environment.


Madras HC Judgement –

  • In 2011, the Madras HC upheld the validity of the Tamil Nadu government’s notification (of 2010) declaring an ‘Elephant Corridor’ in the Sigur Plateau of Nilgiris District.
  • It said that the government is fully empowered under the ‘Project Elephant’ of the Union government as well as Article 51 A(g) of the Constitution to notify the elephant corridor in the state’s Nilgiris district.
  • Article 51 A(g): It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • Further, it upheld directions to the resort owners and other private landowners to vacate lands falling within the notified Nilgiri elephant corridor.


  • The corridor is situated in the ecologically fragile Sigur plateau, which connects the Western and the Eastern Ghats and sustains elephant populations and their genetic diversity.
  • It is situated near the Mudumalai National Park in the Nilgiris district.
  • It has the Nilgiri hills on its southwestern side and the Moyar river valley on its northeastern side. The elephants cross the plateau in search of food and water.
  • There are about 100 elephant corridors in India of which almost 70% are used regularly.


  • Narrowing Passage Width: Only 22% corridors are of a width of one to three kilometres in 2017, compared with 41% in 2005, pointing to how constricted corridors have become in the past 12 years.
  • Human Encroachment of Corridors: 21.8% of corridors were free of human settlements in 2017 compared with 22.8% in 2005.
  • Intercepted Corridors: About 36.4% of the elephant corridors in northwestern India, 32% in central India, 35.7% in northern West Bengal and 13% of the elephant corridors in northeastern India have a railway line passing through them.
  • Almost two-thirds of the corridors have a National or State Highway passing through them, fragmenting habitats and hindering elephant movement further.11% of corridors have canals passing through them.12% are affected by mining and the extraction of boulders.

Land-use Along Corridors: In terms of land use, only 12.9% of the corridors are totally under forest cover in 2017 compared with 24% in 2005.Two in every three elephant corridors in the country are now affected by agricultural activities.

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