Land survey to be carried out at Theppakulamedu in ATR today

Following accusations made against the Kadar tribal people by the Forest Department of encroaching upon forest land in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), the officials said a land survey would be carried out on Saturday in Theppakulamedu where 21 families of the Kadar tribe recently got homestead pattas.

In a statement on Friday, Manambolly Forest Range Officer A. Manikandan said the 21 families received homestead pattas on November 7. He alleged that the families had been “encroaching on forest land” and that a team of Forest Department personnel led by him found five huts that were “erected illegally” within the Manambolly forest range near Valparai on Friday morning.

“In this situation, only one out of the five huts that was encroaching on forest land was removed [by the personnel],” Mr. Manikandan said. He further alleged that the tribal families used “inappropriate words” against the forest staff and prevented them from discharging their duty.

Photos and videos of the forest personnel removing the hut were widely shared on social media platforms on Friday morning. One resident, in an audio message, alleged “injustice” meted out to the Kadar tribal people by the Forest Department and demanded action against the officials involved in dismantling the hut.

A senior official from ATR said the land survey would be a joint exercise by the Forest, Revenue, Tribal Welfare and Survey departments to demarcate the borders of the Theppakulamedu area, where the homestead pattas were provided to the 21 families. The four huts, which were erected allegedly on forest land outside Theppakulamedu, would not be removed till the land survey was completed, he said.

A total of 23 Kadar families were evicted by the Forest Department from ATR in August 2019 after they erected temporary shelters close to their traditional settlement Kallarkudi, which was hit by a landslide. After two years of protests, 21 out of the 23 families were issued homestead pattas at Theppakulamedu, which is in the core area of the tiger reserve and around 15 km away from the hill town of Valparai.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:03:53 AM |

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