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Forest department to acquire patta lands in Mudumalai

P. Oppili

These areas serve as vital migratory routes for wildlife



A mother and a calf elephant from the wild that strayed into a school at Anaikatti in Coimbatore last year. — File photo: K. Ananthan

CHENNAI: In an attempt to minimise man-animal conflicts and create adequate space for migrating elephants in the wild, the Forest Department has proposed to acquire some of the patta lands in and around Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and near Kallar in the Nilgiris.

The conflict is more pronounced in patches of forestlands, which are not under the complete control of the Department, but still serve as vital migratory routes for wildlife, said N. Selvaraj, Forest Minister.

In an interview to The Hindu , the Minister said in order to prevent such problems it was essential that such lands were brought under the absolute ownership of the Forest Department through acquisition by the Government. It would benefit the entire wild elephant population as well as other wildlife in the region.

The Moyar elephant corridor plays a vital role in the migration of elephants from the Eastern Ghats to the Western Ghats and vice-versa. So the department had decided to acquire private patta lands in this region to the extent of 320.95 acres at a cost of Rs. 181.45 lakhs, Mr. Selvaraj said.

The pachyderms migrate through another important corridor, Kallar Jaccanari, adjacent to the jurisdiction of the Kotagiri Range of the Nilgiris North Forest Division when they move from the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats.

The corridor is a very critical one. The department has proposed to acquire about 76.984 acres of land in this region for which Rs. 86.22 lakh was required. Realising the importance of acquiring lands from private individuals, the Government had sanctioned Rs. 2.68 crore for the acquisition of 398 acres of land, he said.

Mr. Selvaraj said in the second half of the last century prime wildlife habitat had been considerably fragmented due to diversion of forestland, illegal or otherwise, especially along the water source for other land uses such as human settlements, agriculture, animal husbandry, power generation and distribution, road transportation and tourism. It was decided to acquire private patta lands as the natural migratory path of animals had been very badly affected by these developments, he added.

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