Over 40,000 acres of Janmam lands in Gudalur occupied by tea plantations, residents: Minister

Of the total of 80,087 acres of Janmam lands in Gudalur, Devala and Pandalur, more than 5,161 acres have been encroached on by small landholders and around 35,000 acres of land are in the hands of private tea estate owners along crucial animal corridors.

A note from State Forest Minister K. Ramachandran said that during Chief Minister’s campaign in the run-up to the election, a student told him that she lived in an area that was classified under “Section 17” lands of the Gudalur Janmam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act and she was unable to get an electricity connection.

The government had wanted to understand the issue better to solve the problems of local residents.

According to Mr. Ramachandran, the total extent of encroached or occupied “Section 17 lands” now stands at more than 40,147 acre. While the large estates, including ones run by multinational corporations occupy almost 35,000 acres of “Section 17” lands, around 4,867 acres of land have been encroached upon by people through farming, and a further 289 acres through illegal buildings.

Around 10,608 buildings are said to be encroachments.

Local conservationists said that the tea estates as well as the illegally constructed houses lie along crucial elephant corridors that connect the Nilgiris landscape to Nilambur and Wayanad.

The non-settlement of claims and lack of action against encroachers has led to a profusion of problematic human-elephant interactions in the region.

Mr. Ramachandran said that he would highlight the issues raised by people living in “Section 17” lands and urge the Chief Minister to take steps to solve their problems.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 5:06:20 am |