There is no proposal to create a new tiger reserve in the Erode Forest Division, said N. Venkatesh Prabhu, District Forest Officer, Erode, on Wednesday.
Interacting with mediapersons during a workshop, he said that nine tigers were spotted in the division in 2019 that comprise Bargur and Chennampatti forest areas. “But no proposals have been submitted to create a new tiger reserve,” he said. The division, he said, has around 100 elephants, sloth bears and other wild animals.
Mr. Venkatesh Prabhu said that the Forest Department in the district, has received a total of 733 applications seeking pattas including for within the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR). The Forest Right Act says that dwellers, who used the land for grazing, farming or any other purpose before the Forest Rights Act came into force in 2006, are eligible to receive pattas. “We obtained satellite images from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) for 2005, and scrutinised them to confirm that the applicants had used the land. A total of 617 rights were settled by issuing conditional pattas to the applicants,” he said.
Outlining the steps taken by the Forest Department to prevent forest fires, he said forest fire lines had been created inside the forest areas, and the outbreak of fire insides forests, was low. Burning of sugarcane in fields had caused fire along forest margins, and awareness is being created among farmers on this, he added.
The forest officer also said that the Forest Survey of India alerts the department in case of forest fires, apart from information received from field staff who are on continuous patrol. “Uniformed field staff encounter wild animals, and, in their line of duty, are always in danger. But they are not recognised, and need due recognition, he added.