The Tamil Nadu government has already taken steps to increase the forest cover to 33 per cent from the present 20.27 per cent, as announced in the state budget, Chief Minister M K Stalin said on Saturday.
Similarly, the government is planning to modernise the Theppakadu elephant camp coming under Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the Nilgiris district, Stalin said here while addressing an event organised to celebrate 200 years of founding this tourist town, popularly known as Ooty.
The over 100-year-old elephant camp is the oldest in Asia and there was huge scope for a detailed study for researchers about the captive elephants and steps to be taken to protect them, he said.
Recollecting former chief minister and his father M Karunanidhi’s contribution to the development and progress of Nilgiris district, Stalin said the DMK is a party that has always thought of the welfare of the people whether it is in power or not.
The DMK was active and was in the forefront during natural calamities like the floods in 2009, that claimed 50 deaths and loss of lives in landslide, and worked for the people, he said.
As far as farmers are concerned, Nilgiris district is producing strawberries, bananas, beans, cabbage, lettuce, spices, CTC tea and flowers, Stalin said adding that a processing centre would be set up here for the growers to engage in making value-added products for exports.
The Chief Minister also said those engaged in tourism activities like horse riding, cab driving and small traders will be brought under Tamil Nadu Unorganised Workers Welfare Board and provide benefits under it.
Stating that another major problem being faced by the people was regarding construction of houses under 17A Act, Stalin said he would discuss the issue with the ministers and officials in this regard.