The Tamil Nadu Revenue Department is to provide housing sites to tribals in Anamalai Tiger Reserve after tribal activists conducted a prolonged fight for this.
The Revenue Department has conducted a survey in Kadamparai near Anamalai to study the sites to be provided for the tribal families as free housing sites.
This is in line with the allocation of land to tribal families at nearby Kallar, Theppakalmedu in November 2021. Around 2.5 cents of land was provided to each family for constructing houses.
Coimbatore District Collector G.S. Sameeran has visited the site of the land and directed the officials to conduct a proper survey so that the land allocated to the tribal families is good for habitation.
Tribal activist Thangaraj, who was spearheading the struggle for land rights for tribal families, told IANS that Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) officials had earlier deemed the tribal families at Kadamparai as encroachers and had ignored them even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The intervention of Coimbatore District Collector Sameeran has changed the perspective about the tribal families and at least, they are considered as forest dwellers now.”
Sources in the Revenue Department told IANS that around 50 to 55 families will be provided with the land and the number may increase after verifying and checking the details of the tribal families who require the land.
The Tribal Welfare Department and revenue officials will be conducting a meeting with the members of the tribal families at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve forest with Pollachi Sub Collector and Forest Division officers participating in it.
Talking to IANS, Sugandhan, a tribal elder, said: “We have been petitioning the district revenue authorities including the District Collector and the Pollachi sub-collector for land to the families. Unfortunately for the past 30 years, our plea fell on deaf ears. However, the present District Collector has taken the initiative and helped us get the land. We are really thankful for the authorities and the government in providing land to us.”