Displacement for conservation in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, CG, India

Tigers vs humans, a misleading reading of a complex issue. Unjust relocation of tribal communities from Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh


Description

In the Achanakmar Tiger reserve, out of 25 villages in the core area of the tiger reserve, 6 forest Villages[1]-Jalda, Kuba, Bokrakachhar, Bahud, Bakal, and Sambhar Dhasan, with around 249 families were relocated from the tiger reserve during December 2009. The main inhabitants of these villages were Baiga (a tribal group) followed by Gond and Yadavs communities. In February 2009, the tiger reserve was notified under Project Tiger, with the condition of relocating all the villages from the core area of the reserve to make "inviolate space" for tigers. Villagers were promised a fixed compensation package of 1 million and basic amenities in the new settlement place like-5 acres of agriculture land/household, accommodation, school, healthcare and better livelihood opportunities. But when this relocation was done, the alternative location was not made ready for the displaced population and each household was given a petty amount of Rs.5000 cash and Rs.45,000 in the bank account, which was spent mostly in meeting the daily needs and housing arrangement.

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Basic Data
NameDisplacement for conservation in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, CG, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceChhattisgarh
SiteBilaspur
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAchanakmar wildlife sanctuary (AWLS) which spreads over an area of 551.552 square kms was declared as a critical tiger habitat and included under Project Tiger in 2009. AWLS is also the habitat of Baiga tribe, one of the most primitive tribal groups who have lived in this region for centuries. As per the revised guidelines of the Project Tiger announced by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, forest departments of state governments have to decide inviolate spaces and relocate villages from crucial tiger habitats within a time frame by providing a better relocation package. The forest departments are also required to settle the forest rights of communities living these villages. But in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve the Chhattisgarh forest department violated these guidelines. It has not given them better relocation packages and is not settling the forest rights of the Baiga tribals, which is their right under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
Project Area (in hectares)62,619
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1,774
Start Date05/12/2009
Relevant government actorsState Forest Department
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNadi Ghati Morcha, Baiga Mahapanchayat, Equations (http://www.equitabletourism.org/)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Tribal groups of Baiga, Gond and Yadavs
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Development of Alternatives-An independent review of the status at rehabilitation sites including livelihood, living accommodation, access to forests, access to education, health services and other civic amenities must be conducted. Based on the outcomes necessary steps should be taken and only then should the next phase of rehabilitation be taken up.

· All forest and land rights claims filed under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 should be first settled – specifically community rights.

-The Forest Rights Act of 2006 provision of right to protect the forests should be acknowledged and this should be taken into account before any further displacement takes place.

·-Forest Rights Act of 2006 and the Revised guidelines for the ongoing centrally sponsored scheme of Project Tiger, 2008, mention about the right of the adivasis (tribal groups) and other forest dwellers to access natural and forest resources and this should be upheld.

· The form of displaced is forced (by manipulation). The forest department needs to show cultural sensitivity, especially while building the homes which should be such that they are specific to the cultural and social context of the communities. Further, resettlement sites should be identified such that they are near the forests so that people can access the natural and forest resources.

-Money that is due to the people who have been displaced should be given, and bank passbooks should handed over to the heads of the households.

-Any tourism development that takes place should take the community into confidence and the process should ensure that the opinions of the community be respected and acted upon.

By-EQUATIONS, Baiga Mahapanchayat, Nadi Ghati Morcha
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Department of Forest still does not acknowledge the socio-economic and cultural fault in the relocation plan of the Baiga tribal and has not yet settled Forest rights of the communities living in other villages in the core area of the reserve. However the relocation plan for other 5 villages have been prepared and proposal has been approved by the Forest Advisory committee of the Ministry of Environment ,Forest& Climate Change who has advised the State to settle forest rights before the process for relocation.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

Violation under Section-3(1) and Section-4(2) where community rights settlements is compulsory before relocation of the tribal and forest dwellers from the forest area.
[click to view]

References

Land Rights Violations at Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chhattisgarh

A fact finding report by the local tribal rights group
[click to view]

Links

Relocation plan to nowhere land -

The article is about the unpreparedness of the State Forest Department in relocating the Baiga tribe from the core are of the forest to fringe location, about the cultural injustice done by the department for protecting the forest from the saviors and survivors of the forest.
[click to view]

Tribals relocated from tiger reserve face livelihood crisis-About challenges faced by the Baiga tribals after relocation from the core area of the wildlife sanctuary
[click to view]

Other Documents

Baiga in the resettlement site UPROOTED: The Baiga are trying to adjust to their new life in concrete dwellings in the relocated villages of Bokhra Kachchar. Photo: Meena Menon | Photo Credit: mail_grjgm
[click to view]

Entrance of the park Source: http://tumkurameen.blogspot.it/2009/11/beyond-tiger-show-hidden-treasures-of.html
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update13/11/2017
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