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Sathyamangalam tribal’s at a loss

29th March, 2013, Deccan Chronicle, Erode

The declaration of Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve has cheered wildlife enthusiasts in western TN and NGOs. But, for tribal’s life has not changed.

There  are fears  of livelihood, of  bread and of  a home. " So far, the  only difference we have noticed is  that forest department  check posts have become more effective and random entry of tourists  has been stopped. While it might not be great for our local economy, it's still a good move as many tourists were misusing forest resources,” said Irudayaraj, Thengumarahada  panchayat  president. He pointed out that they were earlier promised job opportunities and other benefits.

“But, we are yet to hear any concrete plans for our villages. As of now, our primary concern is the severe drought that has severely affected farming activities here,” Irudayaraj said. "While people were demanding relocation from the region has become inaccessible, that demand is now sub-dued as we hope benefits will reach us."

 Meanwhile, villagers living in the forest region surrounding the tiger reserve  hope that they are not asked to get out of the forests and are provided jobs as promised. "we have been told that we would be given  first preference for jobs and that some of our people  would be allowed to set up shops and eateries  for tourists at the Tiger Reserve,"  said a villager from Moyar valley.

Senior officials said that they are in the initial stage of drafting a detailed plan for the Reserve, the fourth in the state.  There are fears of livelihood, of bread and of a home. "So far, the only difference