The use of earthmovers and mini excavators by individuals for laying roads, landscaping and for construction work is banned, clarified Nilgiris District Collector S.P. Amrith on Sunday.

In a press release, the Collector said that recent reports of the use of excavators were investigated by the district administration. The use of heavy machinery for landscaping work in the Nilgiris which is a biosphere reserve is banned unless express permission is given for their use by the District Collector for agricultural works.

Permission is granted only after inspections by the agricultural engineering department, revenue department as well as the department of geology and mining, before the final approval is granted by the Collector.

After recent reports of the use of earthmovers and mini excavators across the Nilgiris, teams were formed to look into their unauthorised use. After investigation, an earthmover, a lorry and five mini excavators were seized across the district, the Collector said.

Farmers, who wish to get approval for use of mini excavators have been urged to approach the Horticulture Department for permission, and have been advised not to use the excavators without prior approval, failing which, action will be taken against both the owner of the land as well the owner of the excavators.

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