Minister reviews situation with senior officials

The ban on entry of tourists into the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) will in no way affect the normal life of the local population living in and around Valparai and there is no need for any apprehension, Minister for Forests K.T. Pachamal said recently.

A delegation of people from Valparai representing various organisations led by Valparai MLA M. Arumugam along with Agriculture Minister S. Damodaran met the Forest Minister at Chennai representing the inconveniences that they have been put to because of the ban on tourism. The delegation said that a substantial portion of the area around Valparai, which should have been out of the core and buffer zones had been included in the Core Zone, leading to the imposition of a ban. Mr. Pachamal reviewed the situation with the Principal Secretary to Government for Forests, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chief Wildlife Warden and other officials.

At the end of the review, Mr. Pachamal said that there would be no setback or hardship to the local population, as the ban was only on tourism activities in core zone.

With regard to 958 sq km area of the ATR being notified as Critical Tiger Habitat as early as 2007, Mr. Pachamal said the government has taken note of the hardship likely to be caused to the public as a result of the notification and the resultant ban.

The Chief Minister has instructed for constituting a committee comprising officials and elected representatives to carry out amendments in the interest of the public and to take it to the attention of the Supreme Court, he said.

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