A total of 23 families attached to the Poolapathi tribal settlement in Coimbatore district are all set to get about one acre of forest land as they have been sanctioned resettlement of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
The 23 families living within the limits of the Periyanaickenpalayam forest range had moved to the fringes of the forests, forced by various factors including livelihood, some 30 years ago.
After being educated about the provision of IFR under the FRA, the families expressed their wish to return to the forests. A district-level committee headed by District Collector G.S. Sameeran sanctioned resettlement of IFR titles to them, based on evidences that attested that their ancestors indeed lived and cultivated in the forests.
In the revenue district, the settlement falls under Tholampalayam village of Mettupalayam taluk of Coimbatore north division.
District Forest officer T.K. Ashok Kumar said that the sub-divisional committee recommended according them IFR after the families sought rights for cultivation that was traditionally done by their ancestors. The district-level committee scrutinised and approved the rights.
22 settlements get Community Forests Rights
The district level committee also sanctioned Community Forest Rights (CFR) to a total of 22 tribal settlements in Coimbatore north division - 13 in Pilloor, seven in Velliangadu and two in Mettupalayam.
A total of 13 CFR titles were issued to other tribal settlements in the revenue division in December 2022. Land survey for the titles was done with complete participation of tribals who were also involved in the mapping of places using GPS devices.
Revenue Divisional Officer for Coimbatore north K. Booma said that the settlements in Pilloor and Velliangadu have also been given fishing rights apart from the right to collect minor forest produces such as honey, tamarind, grass for boom making, mango and amla.
Forest range officers N. Divya (Karamadai), S. Selvaraj (Periyanaickenpalayam) and Joseph Stalin (Mettupalayam) coordinated with the Revenue officials in land surveys for the processing of IFR and CFR in their jurisdictional limits. Revenue officials said that M. Bagavanidhi, technical coordinator at Keystone Foundation who worked in Pilloor and Palamalai areas, and Adi Federation that worked in Velliangadu in technical partnership with WWF-India under Mullai Pandian also extended support.