Theni: Elephant sanctuary not a threat to livelihood of tribals, says Collector

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place, activities

THENI: Establishment of Periyar Elephant sanctuary on Megamalai will not affect tribal people at 50 villages including Thummagundu, Arasarai, Valiparai in Kadamalaigundu union on Varushanadu hill.

These villages do not come under the sanctuary area, said the District Collector, P. Muthuveeran.

Talking to press persons here on Wednesday, he said that 2,484 families had been living in these villages for the past 40 years.

Their living place and livelihood activities would be fully protected, he added.

People residing in these villages could use the lands that were under their control for a long time.

Status quo should be maintained.

They had the right to use this forest land only for their livelihood activities.

No fresh encroachment would be permitted.

Even sinking of bore wells and cutting of trees in the lands under their use would not be allowed.

The government had already identified 26,910 hectares of land on Suruli hills as part of Western Ghats covering Erasakkanaickanur, Mela Goodalur, Vannathiparai, Suruli areas only.

Agitation

The fear-gripped people in 50 villages came to the Collectorate recently and staged an agitation demanding protection to their livelihood activities.

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people at these villages on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place and livelihood activities.

From THE HINDU

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