Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary | Local residents want traditional grazing, worshipping rights to continue

An association of local residents met, and passed several resolutions that also demanded the removal of invasive species from the forest; the preserving of traditional herbs and the protection of poramboke lands

Updated - February 26, 2024 06:41 pm IST

Published - February 26, 2024 12:46 pm IST - ERODE

A view of forests in Bargur Hills in Erode district, where 80,114.80 hectares have been declared the Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

A view of forests in Bargur Hills in Erode district, where 80,114.80 hectares have been declared the Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Malaival Bedagampana Lingayat Munnetra Nala Sangam, a welfare association, has urged the Tamil Nadu government to ensure their traditional grazing rights and their offering of worship in temples in the forests continue, despite the declaration of Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, and the ban on cattle grazing by the court.

Members of the association met at Thamaraikarai in Bargur Hills on Sunday, February 25, 2024, and discussed the consequences that may be faced by local people, following the notifying of the forests on the hills as a wildlife sanctuary. Various resolutions were passed during the meeting.

One resolution said that local residents’ rights to take their cattle for grazing in forests were conferred upon them under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, and they wanted this to continue. “During the grazing period for a few months in a year, cattle owners stay inside the forest, and permission should be given for this,” the resolution stated. Another resolution said many temples were located in the forests, where festivals were organised annually. “We should be allowed to follow our traditional practices in the regard,” the resolution said.

Another resolution said rare herbs that are on the verge of extinction should be preserved, and wanted the government to allot three acres of land near villages for residents to grow these herbs. Lantana camara, an invasive weed that affects forests, should be removed, and replaced with native species so that resources are preserved, another resolution said. T

The association also wanted public places in the hills earmarked for grazing, and for poramboke land not to be given to government departments or private organisations. Other resolutions wanted the free movement of vehicles carrying locally-made products for marketing, the closing down Tasmac shops in the hills and the establishment a government college and road facilities for remote hamlets.

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