“Tiger conservation measures will hamper development”

Opposition to the notification of the government on the demarcation of the core and buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) near here was stepped up on Tuesday in the form of a fast at Gudalur, abutting the reserve.

The fast was led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA from Gudalur M. Thiravidamani.

The main demand of those who addressed the gathering was that the conversion of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary into a tiger reserve should be revoked. They claimed that the declaration of the sanctuary as a tiger reserve and consequent stepping up of tiger conservation measures were hampering development and posing a threat to the livelihood of the people.

They feared that the notification would not permit any kind of developmental activity in the buffer zone. Land transactions would come to a standstill. Conservation should not be at the cost of development.

Underscoring the need to lift the ban on tourism in the MTR, they said many including jeep and taxi owners and drivers had been subjected to considerable hardship.

Police sources said about 350 persons including 50 women from Gudalur and surrounding areas participated. They included representatives of various political parties. The fast went off peacefully amid heavy security.

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