Chennai: Ten years down the line Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu will have the largest pocket of unhabituated breeding habitat for tigers in India.
On Thursday, the state government passed instructions to the Tiruneveli district collector and the state forest department to notify the entire area that originates at Thamirabharani river as a reserve forest.
The notification by the state, now served to the district administration dates back to a recent high court order in which Justice M.M. Sundaresh ruled that leased out tea estates have to be returned to the forest department as the lease period expires.
“The state forest department approached the government seeking its nod to convert all tea estate areas leased out to private parties to be brought back under the forest cover and the TN Governor exercising his powers conferred by section 16 of the Tamil Nadu Forest Act 1882 on January 12,2018 declared new forest boundaries for Kalakad and Mundanthurai that caters water to five southern districts,” said chief conservator of forests, A Venkatesh, who is also the field director of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
The state has now empowered the forest department and this notification means that all commercial activities in the notified area had to be stalled. No new roads can be laid; no new constructions will be entertained. The existing temples, dams and government offices located inside the forest will have connective roads and in case of patta lands inside the reserve, they will be allowed to have a mud road access, the top official clarified.
“KMTR is known for biodiversity and plant vegetation. Now by clearing the tea estates in a phased manner shola forests and herbal vegetation will spring back.
Wild animals will now move freely thus increasing the soil nutrient and this will enable forest rejuvenation. This is a good news for TN forests and it's high time that estate areas in Gudalur and Valparai are now targeted as part of conservation and water management,” said wildlife biologist G. Kannan....