Ooty: M. Thiravidamani (DMK), MLA of Gudalur constituency in the Nilgiris, has written to TN Governor Banwarilal Purohit requesting him not to give assent to the bill on the amendment to the TN forests Act 1885.
In his memorandum, he stated that the major portion of Gudalur and Pandalur taluks of the Nilgiris were zamindari (Janmam) lands under various Janmies. These lands were cultivated by small cultivators as tenants. The big plantation estates were also holding larger extents under lease from the Janmies. Some lands are under the direct control of Janmies.
As part of agrarian reforms and to settle the lands on the real tillers, the Gudalur Janmam Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari Act 1969 was enacted. While 80,088 acres come under the purview of the Act, nearly 1/4th of the lands were settled by granting ryotwari pattas in the initial stages. But due to litigation thereafter, the settlement process was stalled all these years, he pointed.
Stating that there are about 16,000 poor small growers families holding rights on about 35,000 acres of Janmam lands, he said that most Janmam lands are being cultivated for decades together by tribals as well as non-tribals. Plantations on the Janmam lands, which provide employment to thousands of labourers, are to be considered for settlement according to their legal holdings, otherwise, a major
portion of the general population striving upon labour will be adversely affected, he pointed.
It will not create any positive impact in protecting forests but will only jeopardize the interests of downtrodden dwellers of Janmam lands. Hence, the present bill on amendment should not be given assent by the Governor. The Governor may return the bill for reconsideration, he pleaded....