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Tribals refuse to vacate proposed tiger reserve

News18

Updated: January 3, 2012, 11:21 AM IST
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Tribals refuse to vacate proposed tiger reserve
ADILABAD: The proposed tiger reserve in the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary in Adilabad district is facing stiff opposition from tribals ..

ADILABAD: The proposed tiger reserve in the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary in Adilabad district is facing stiff opposition from tribals who are reluctant to vacate their homes. Though the government offered them a compensation of `10 lakh for each family, tribal leaders are firm on their demand for allocation of a house site and agricultural land as compensation before vacating the villages.
Opposing the government's pressure tactics, several organisations along with tribal villagers participated in the Maha Padayatra from DarsanpelliTatiguda village junction in Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district on Monday. The padayatra will reach Adilabad on January 5 and will culminate in a dharna in front of the district collectorate on the same day.
The tiger reserve in Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary is the 41st tiger (shelter) zone in the country and the second in the state with a total area of 892 sq km. The forests department conducted a survey before sending the proposal for the tiger zone at a cost of `42 crore. The government is now asking nearly 1,000 families from 40 villages under the Jannaram and Utnoor forest areas to vacate the area. It has offered to pay a compensation of `10 lakh to each family.
However, the tribals are refusing to leave their villages due to the apprehension that the government might not keep its promise and abandon them without paying any compensation. Instead, they want the government to allocate them house sites and agricultural land apart from extending them all constitutional protections in the plains. "Tribals who are accustomed to living in hilly terrain and forest cannot survive in plain areas even though the government offers `10 lakh as compensation. Hence, we want the government to provide house sites and agricultural land elsewhere in the agency area itself," said Kanaka Yadav Rao, president of Adivasi Sankshema Parishad.
The tribals alleged that forest officials are driving leopards and other wild animals into their hamlets to scare them into vacating the villages. They claimed that a tribal girl from Maisampet Naikapuguda hamlet was killed by a leopard on December 5 in 2011 after it was driven into the hamlet allegedly by the forest officials to create panic.
"Many tribals do not have land pattas as they cultivate forest lands. Hence, most of them might not get compensation and even if they get, some of it will be taken by middlemen and officials. Some tribals might also spend away the amount leaving their families in the lurch. Without any alternative land, we will not vacate our villages," said Sakku Patel from Alinagar. He demanded that the government should provide five acres of land and a house site for each tribal family. Tribals claimed that they had bitter experiences as far as relief and rehabilitation is concerned.

First Published: January 3, 2012, 11:21 AM IST
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