TAMIL NADU

Meeting held to review safety measures at Thirumurthy hills

Staff Reporter

Udumalpet: Ministers and officials had a review meeting on Monday to discuss the issue of handing over forest lands to initiate safety measures for the visiting pilgrims and tourists in Thirumurthy Hills.

Ministers N. Selvaraj (Forest), Pongalur N. Palanisamy (Rural Industries and Animal Husbandry), K.R. Periyakaruppan (Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments), Special Commissioner for HR & CE, T. Pichandy, Collector, V. Palanikumar, Conservator of Forests, R. Kannan, Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore, G. Karthikeyan and other officials took part in the meeting. The meeting as aimed at preventing the loss of lives at the Panchalinga falls near Amanalingeswarar temple in Thirumurthy hills, Udumalpet,

Flash floods

On May 25 the flash floods in Panchalinga falls had killed 13 tourists.

Minister Selvaraj said that in 1919, a total of 50 acres of land belonging to the Forest Department was handed over to the HR&CE department and in 1980 owing to the amendments to the Forest Act, the exercise of control over forest lands became rigid in order to protect the rich flora and fauna.

Guidelines

The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary had now been declared as a Tiger Reserve thus tightening the enforcement of forest and wildlife related legislations. Thus, any development activity in the forest area had to follow the Supreme Court guidelines and Centre’s concurrence.

Remedial measures

However, considering the loss of lives at the panchalinga falls, the Chief Minister had ordered for a review of the situation to initiate suitable remedial measures.

Notifications

In accordance with the Chief Minister’s directive, the Forest Department will soon issue a notification reaffirming the handing over of 50 acre land to the HR&CE Department.

Solar fencing

The land could be provided with solar fencing to prevent the straying of wildlife and the HR&CE could take up works for ensuring the safety of pilgrims and tourists.

Attention

Mr.Periyakaruppan said that decade old problems relating to temples were getting due attention now and were being set right and the Thirumurthy hills falls will also get the due attention. Forest, Police and HR&CE departments will come together on getting the land and evolve safety measures that would prevent loss of lives, he added.

Warning

Rural Industries Minister, Pongalur N. Palanisamy detailing the measures that will prevent loss of lives also pointed out that tourists and pilgrims refused to listen to the warning issued by the officials.

It was their mindless approach in enjoying nature that led to the loss of lives. He also added that since 2005 every year there had been loss of lives.

With the Forest Department handing over the land soon, remedial measures and safety mechanisms will be in place to prevent loss of lives.