Three associations representing tribal communities have opposed the tourism projects planned to be taken up at Pachamalai expressing apprehensions that the infrastructure developments could ultimately result in displacement of tribes living in the hills.
The tourism promotion plans could lead to the take over of lands belonging to tribal communities. The tribal communities would stand to lose their cultural identity and ultimately face displacement, said K.A. Gunasekaran, chairman, Tribal People’s Council, V. Murugesan, State president, Tamil Nadu Tribal People’s Federation, and K. Perumal, district president, Tamil Nadu Scheduled Tribe (malayali) Peravai, addressing a joint press conference here on Wednesday.
“We condemn the government move to promote Pachamalai as a tourism destination in the absence of any plan of action to protect the interests of tribal people. Only multinationals and big companies will take advantage of the project,” Mr. Gunasekaran said. He said not a single tribal entrepreneur had emerged from the tourism development projects promoted in other places such as Udhagamandalam, Kodaikanal, and Yelagiri.
The associations said that they would chalk out an agitation plan if the government did not give up the plan. The association opposed the move to include more communities under the list of Scheduled Tribes as the government had failed to increase reservation for tribal people in state jobs from the existing one per cent.