D. Radhakrishnan

Consider establishing eco-friendly units

Bring out White Paper on money spent on afforestation programme

Restore shoal grassland eco system

Udhagamandaam: A separate agency should be formed to bring in development to the Nilgiris, said A. Bellie, president, Nilgiris District Vivasayigal Sangam, and M. Alwas, secretary, Tamil Nadu Aboriginal Tribals Association.

They told reporters on Monday that the problems confronting the Blue Mountains are peculiar and they can be dealt with only by an authority formed exclusively for the district.

Equal importance should be given to conservation and development.

The proposed agency should focus on a balanced development of this small but significant district.

Conservation measures should not affect the local people. The agency should ensure that the ecology of the place is protected.

Employment opportunities, had over the years, been steadily declining. The work force in industrial establishments like the Cordite Factory in Aruvankadu and the Hindustan Photo Films here is now not even half what they were a few years ago.

The government should explore the possibility of improving facilities and providing more jobs in such places. The government should seriously consider establishing eco-friendly industries in places like Kotagiri. They said that about 25 years ago Kodanad had been chosen to put up a software industry.

Referring to the move to clear the elephant corridor near Masinagudy and Singara of buildings, they said that the interests of the tribals should be safeguarded.

Agriculture land

Conversion of agriculture land and tea gardens into housing zones should be prevented but the restrictions on constructing houses by the common man should be relaxed.

Afforestation programmes implemented over the years are yet to bear fruit. Shola-grassland eco-system should be restored.

“It is on account of the destruction of natural forests that wild animals have started straying into human habitations,” they said. Denuded areas have not been re-greened. They demanded a White Paper on the money spent so far on various afforestation programmes.

They said that the government is using the Nilgiris as a dumping ground for condemned buses.

Referring to the difficulties faced by the travelling public on account of the landslips that occurred a couple of months ago, they said that alternative routes should be provided. A Joint Action Committee of various political parties and organisations would be formed to draw the attention of the government to the problems here.