More than 200 tribal people, who began a protest march from Valparai, demanding better housing facilities and basic amenities, were prevented by police on Monday.
People from several interior tribal villages had come to stay in a marriage hall and private lodges in Valparai Town on Sunday night to commence the march from Gandhi Statue on Monday morning.
Officials, however, forced them to vacate by issuing directions to marriage hall and private lodges. As the evacuated people, including women and children, were forced to wait in the open, members of some political parties held talks with authorities and made arrangements for them to take shelter in the marriage hall for the night.
However, on Monday morning, they commenced the march. But, the police stopped them to wait for talks with officials. After waiting till 1 pm, the aggrieved people again resumed their march. Following this, the police removed 185 persons and took them to a marriage hall.
Meanwhile, the officials of the Forest Department sought 15 days’ time to take up the issue to the knowledge of senior officials and arrive at a solution.
In another protest over similar demands, the people living in forest villages in Pollachi, Manampalli and Valparai ranges took to ‘waiting protest’ at the Forest Department office in Pollachi.
Led by VS Paramasivam, president of Tamil Nadu Tribal People Association, the villagers gathered at the Forest Department office demanding houses for those who lost their houses to landslide in Nagaroothu and Kallar villages, public toilet facilities, power connections and other basic amenities. Following talks by officials of the Forest Department to do the needful, they withdrew their protest.