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February 21 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Bargur Hills of Erode district, Tamil Nadu, has recently come under scrutiny due to concerns raised by forest-dwellers.

The notification of this sanctuary has raised several issues, primarily related to the potential denial of rights conferred by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA).

Concerns Regarding the Notification of the Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary:

Exclusion of Tribal Forest Villages:

  • Six tribal forest villages have been excluded from the sanctuary, restricting them to a small 3.42 sq. km area.
  • These villages are not recognized as revenue villages, raising questions about the legal status of the inhabitants.

Impact on Traditional Practices:

  • The notification imposes restrictions on cattle-grazing activities, affecting the traditional practices of the Bargur cattle, a native breed to the Bargur forest hills.
  • This raises concerns about the cultural and economic impact on the forest-dwelling communities.

Lack of Consent Mentioned:

  • The notification does not mention obtaining consent from forest rights holders or the gram sabha, as mandated by the FRA, 2006.
  • This omission questions the legality of the notification under the existing legal framework.

Recent Madras High Court Order:

  • In March 2022, the Madras High Court revised a previous order banning cattle grazing in all Tamil Nadu forests.
  • The order now applies only to National Parks, Sanctuaries, and Tiger Reserves, making Tamil Nadu the sole state with such a comprehensive ban.
  • This order contradicts the FRA, 2006, which recognizes grazing rights and traditional resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities.

Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006:

The FRA, 2006, acknowledges the rights of forest-dwelling tribal communities and traditional forest dwellers to forest resources essential for their livelihoods, habitation, and socio-cultural needs.

It aims to rectify historical injustices faced by these communities by recognizing their symbiotic relationship with forests.

Forest Dwellers Rights Under FRA, 2006:

  • Individual rights granted include self-cultivation and habitation.
  • Collective or community rights include grazing, fishing, access to water bodies, and traditional seasonal resource access for nomadic and pastoral communities.
  • Recognizes rights of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), intellectual property rights, customary rights, and the right to protect, regenerate, or manage community forest resources sustainably.
  • Provides for the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to meet basic infrastructural needs of forest-dwelling communities.


Gram Sabha Empowerment:

  • Gram Sabha plays a central role in the Act, determining and recognizing forest rights and protecting forests, wildlife, and biodiversity within customary and traditional boundaries.
  • Violations of the FRA, especially concerning Scheduled Tribes, are considered crimes under the 2016 amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

Relationship with Other Laws:

  • Conversion of forest villages into revenue villages is recognized as a forest right.
  • When notifying a Protected Area under the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, government must assess FRA, 2006 rights and obtain consent from gram sabhas.
  • FRA, 2006, supersedes the WLPA, 1972, and any conflicting provisions in the latter are considered null and void.

Key Facts About Thanthai Periyar Sanctuary:

Geographical Details:

  • Spans 80,114.80 hectares in the Bargur Hills of Erode district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Declared the 18th wildlife sanctuary, connecting the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve with the Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Positioned at the junction of the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats, boasting rich biodiversity.

Ecological Significance:

  • Part of the tiger corridor connecting Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Male Mahadeshwara Hills Tiger Reserve, and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Recognized by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, supporting a viable tiger population crucial for conservation.
  • Significant part of the Nilgiris Elephant Reserve, housing healthy populations of elephants and Indian Gaur.

Hydrological Importance:

  • Catchment area for the Palar River, feeding into the Cauvery River, supporting agricultural activities in the region.


February 21
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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