The notification of tiger reserves and non-enforcement of the Forest Rights Act in the State are posing a threat to the livelihood of tribals and adivasis, including a possible eviction from the forests that have been their home since ages, said activists and representatives of forest dwellers at a State-level symposium, here on Thursday.
As the Forest Department had notified tiger reserves in Mudumalai (Nilgiris), Sathyamangalam (Erode), Anamalai and Kalkkad-Mundanthurai over a period of time, besides proposing a tiger reserve in Meghamalai, their livelihood was at stake, they said and demanded that the government first ensure their rehabilitation.
As per the Centre’s amendment in 2006 to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the consent and approval of gram sabhas were mandatory for constitution of tiger reserves. “Scientific and objective criteria are to be adopted and public hearing should be conducted to ensure people’s participation in the process. Tiger reserves are to be constituted after fulfilling the relevant provisions of the Wildlife Amendment Act of 2006 and the Forest Rights Act of 2006,” said C R Bijoy of Campaign for Survival and Dignity.