Thursday, June 12, 2014

Illegal Checkdams in Bettamugilalam

To,                                                                                                                                                          Date: 25/05/2014
Thiru. Lakshmi Narayan, IFS
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden,
Tamil Nadu Forest Department,
Chennai  - 600 015

Copy to:
  • District Forest Officer, Hosur Forest Division
  • District Collector, Krishnagiri
  • Sub-Collector, Hosur
  • Range Forest Officer, Denkanikottai Range, Hosur Forest Division
Sub: Illegal Checkdams affecting Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS) is a wildlife NGO registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975. We have been actively working with the Hosur Forest Division for the last 6 years on various issues pertaining to wildlife conservation and related matters.
During our visit in April 2014 to a region called Bettamugilalam, located near Denkanikottai, Krishnagiri District, we noticed that in almost all the farm plots, the farmers had dug bore wells and were drawing water using diesel motor pumps.  Upon enquiring, the farmers said that they have been doing this for the past 3-4 years.
The impact is that the streams that flow through the villages are going dry[1].
So, in order to improve the water table, they have created several checkdams along the stream by placing sacks of sand [2] and boulders[3].
We would like to bring to your notice the threat from such activities:
1.       Bettamugilalam is located in the Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary. It is surrounded by the Reserve Forests of Aiyur, Sameri, Marandahalli, Toluvabetta and Galligattam. The streams that originate in these forests flow from one to the other through these villages [4]and eventually flow into the Panchapalli reservoir. The Checkdams are in violation of Section 29 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 which states that:
“No person shall destroy, exploit or remove any wild life including forest produce from a sanctuary or destroy or damage or divert the habitat of any wild animal by any act whatsoever or divert, stop or enhance the flow of water into or outside the sanctuary, [5] except under and in accordance with a permit granted by the Chief Wild Life Warden, and no such permit shall be granted unless the State Government being satisfied in consultation with the Board that such removal of wild life from the sanctuary or the change in the flow of water into or outside the sanctuary is necessary for the improvement and better management of wild life therein, authorises the issue of such permit”
2.       With streams in the forests going dry, Elephants have been occassionally visiting the villages in search of water. If these streams are not restored to their natural state, then, in the coming days there could be an increase in the human-elephant conflict in this region.
Therefore, in the interest of both the people and forests, we request you to take appropriate steps to restore the natural flow of the water systems and maintain the hydrological balance of this fragile region by closing and preventing these illegal Checkdams.


Laxmeesha Acharya

Kenneth Anderson Nature Society

1. Bore-well next to a stream that has gone dry
2. Checkdams made using sacks of sand

3. Checkdams made using boulders

4. Map showing the streams (in blue) flowing through Bettamugilalam

5. Blocking of stream from flowing into the forest


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