Save Paruthipadu community grazing area
Petitioning: CM cell Tamil Nadu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Petitioner: T.Ganesh started on November 4, 2016
In a recent move the Tamil Nadu State government has allocated uncultivated and unutilised temple lands in the state to Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers(TNNP) a public sector, listed company, and the largest paper and board manufacturers in India with a total installed production capacity of about 6 lakh tonnes a year distributed across two units to raise tree plantations for pulp wood to generate income for the temples.
The Government is supposed to have allocated about 3,600 acres of temple lands on a 15y lease across the State belonging to over 15 temples that would provide 30 per cent gross revenue share to the temple, to enable it raise pulp wood tree plantations such as eucalyptus and casuarina. TNPL will handle the entire cost of land development, planting and maintenance.
As of now these lands are considered as either unutilised or have been encroached by the state.
However not all of these lands are unutilised many of the lands that appear unutilised are used by pastoralists and are important habitat for many species of birds including migratory ones. For instance in the Tirunelveli district, Nelliappan temple is a very famous one that has over 1000 acres of grazing land at Paruthipadu and Manur which are used by over 10,000 livestock of pastoralists from the 15 villages surrounding the Paruthipadu. These pastoralists seasonally use the land for grazing and camp in the surroundings for several months utilizing the pastures. There are no major grazing areas for them during the monsoon when cultivation happens everywhere.
The area has unique biodiversity with several endemic and rare plants including species that are yet to be identified and could be new to science. A new species of lizard called Fan throated lizard was discovered from these grasslands. In addition it has fox, jungle cat and other small mammals and over 65 species of birds and 100's of migratory grassland birds that come from Russia and other parts of the world use it for foraging and roosting.
TNNP has started planting Eucalyptus in the dry land for pulp production. Studies have shown that planting such species in the area only reduces ground water and production of pulp is very limited and soon the plants will wither away or drain water from nearby ponds and tanks.
The villages around are protesting but TNNP is going around planting with the coming of rains. A similar case in Manur where the land belonged to the same temple, local people who protested and uprooted saplings were arrested.
We request the honourable Chief Minister of TN to urgently intervene into this matter in detail and where unutilised lands are used by local people they should remain as such since these are grazing lands and government should not let any other activity other than grazing in these area.
Please see the news item.