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Can Tribal Dwellers And Tigers Co Exist With One Another?

1270 words - 6 pages

Forests and the tribal dwellers residing in them are inter- linked and it is not possible to disassociate one from the other. These tribal dwellers are critical stakeholders who have substantial resource rights and privileges over these forests. They are dependent on forests for its basic produce and eke out a livelihood on its products. There is another popular notion hovered around by wildlife enthusiasts, that both tigers and tribal dwellers cannot co- exist with one another. Hence, they have to be rehabilitated and resettled upon declaration of an area as Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH) or Critical Wildlife Habitat (CWH). However, this is a fallacious agreement since it can be seen that ...view middle of the document...

This relocation was proposed specifically to enable the reintroduction of tigers, which were found to have disappeared by 2005 . Studies showed that most people had very little clue of what constituted a satisfactory relocation package and there was also a possibility of conflict with the host population at the proposed resettlement sites . It is pertinent to note that due care and regard need to be given in this context as these dwellers possess limited skills and do not have the requisite qualification for the high end jobs. Hence, there are limited alternative job opportunities available at disposal. Some of the occupations where they can be placed are those of fishing, agriculture, basic construction work, mining etc. in some cases, relocation takes place at such a rapid rate that the displaced people find it extremely difficult to adjust and learn new skills. For instance, in the case of Maldharis from Gir National Park (Gujarat) , nomadic pastoralists were forced to adopt themselves to settled agriculture at the rehabilitated site. Most families were not aware of the process of transition, and it took years for people to get adjusted in the new set up. In certain other cases, many non- forest areas are also being converted into tiger reserves. These areas could be agricultural land, community land, etc . Since these areas now come within the ambit of tiger reserves, they are subject to the despotic control of the Forest Department officials. For Instance, Rajiv Gandhi National Park (or Nagarhole National Park), Karnataka: Declared in 1983. In the early 1990s, about 350 tribal families were relocated by force just outside the park area, who were deprived of adequate compensation and also did not have good cultivable land at their disposal for practicing agriculture. This, in turn, led to vehement opposition by the tribals against the relocation . According to another source , 12 drinking water facilities at the new site were in some cases not adapted to the needs of the relocated tribals.

There are very stringent provisions that lay down the rules for developing relocation and rehabilitation plans in both the Wildlife Protection Act as well as the Forest Rights Act. Guidelines and policies have been developed under these provisions in order to carry out the resettlement effectively. A package for resettlement was developed according to the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of 2007, keeping in mind the special needs for forest dwellers. The package contains two options. Option I provides the payment for the entire package amount of Rs 10 lakhs without any relocation being carried out by the Forest department . This has a monitoring process whereby the District Magistrate and external agencies participate in ensuring the successful rehabilitation of the dwellers. This ‘handholding’ system developed can be misused to enhance bureaucracy whereby the funds may not be properly allocated. Option II...

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