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22 May 2024, Edition - 3235, Wednesday

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Thondamuthur Farmers Protest Against Tamil Nadu Forest Department’s Designation of Agricultural Lands as Elephant Corridors

Covai Post Network


Farmers from the Thondamuthur region in Coimbatore today protested against the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for recommending agricultural lands thriving for generations as elephant corridors.

Shri. Kumar, a farmer from Thondamuthur and the chairman of Velliangiri Uzhavan Producer Company Limited located in Coimbatore expressed his concern regarding this issue and said:

A recent news article reported that the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has identified 42 new elephant corridors across Tamil Nadu. Subsequently, we reviewed the draft report published on the department’s website, which mentions the identification of 4 new elephant corridors in Coimbatore alone. We were shocked to find that the areas encompassing our agricultural members’ farmlands, residences, and temples were also listed as elephant corridors.

During the so-called study conducted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, not a single farmer from our area was consulted, and no meeting was held with concerned farmers regarding this matter. In contrast, this draft report was formulated by individuals who possess a limited understanding of the nuanced topography and ecological dynamics of our region.

It is equally distressing and surprising that the draft report recommends areas where we have been farming for generations as elephant corridors. Our parents and ancestors have cultivated these lands for generations, and we have never witnessed or even heard of elephant migration in our area. If it were an area where elephants migrate frequently, sustaining farming activities here for many generations would have been impossible.

We, further, strongly oppose the proposal to acquire 450 acres of land to establish and expand non-existent elephant corridors, as outlined in the report. Our farming practices have sustained our families for generations, and any attempt to displace us under the guise of protecting elephants is a clear violation of our human rights.

Additionally, designating areas where many Hindu temples are located, such as Velliangiri Andavar Temple, Marudamalai Temple, Anuvavi Temple, Pannari Temple, and Ponnuthu Amman Temple, as elephant corridors raises concerns. We find this an attempt to infringe upon our right to worship.

We strongly urge the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider the designation of the “Velliangiri Andavar Temple – Marudamalai” as an elephant corridor, which lacks proper field study and consultation with local stakeholders, including farmers and local communities.

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