Last update:
2017-11-13

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:

The Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, located in the Mungeli district of Chattisgarh, is mostly inhabited by the Baigas, an indigenous community belonging to the particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Displacement for conservation in Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, CG, India
Country:India
State or province:Chhattisgarh
Location of conflict:Bilaspur
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 commodities:Land
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 1975 part of the Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve was declared as Achankmar Wildlife Sanctuary, covering 557.55 sq.km. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2003, after the recommendation of the 37th meeting of the Steering Committee of Project Tiger held on 23rd January 2003. With the notification of the Critical Tiger Habitat on 20 February 2009, the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve was expanded up to 914 sq. km. The core expands for an area of 636 sq. km and the buffer for 287 sq.km. However as per official records, the Tiger Population dropped drastically.

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Project area:91,401.7
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,774
Start of the conflict:05/12/2009
Relevant government actors:Chattisgarh State Forest Department
International and Finance InstitutionsWWF from Switzerland
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nadi Ghati Morcha, Baiga Mahapanchayat, Equations (http://www.equitabletourism.org/)
Navraska NGO
Al India Forum of Forest Movement (AIFFM)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Tribal groups of Baiga, Gond and Yadavs
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Refusal of compensation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Violations of human rights, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Migration/displacement
Repression
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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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 the 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 of relocation.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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 to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Bineet Mundu. Development and Displacement: Who Pays the Price?
[click to view]

Land Rights Violations at Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chhattisgarh

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

[5] Bineet Mundu. Development and Displacement: Who Pays the Price?
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Business Standard. "Tribals relocated from tiger reserve face livelihood crisis" Aug. 13, 2016.
[click to view]

[7] Achanakmar rehabilitation project
[click to view]

[1] The Hindu. "Relocation plan to nowhere land". Aug. 1, 2012. Author: Meena Menon.
[click to view]

[4] The Hindu."Forest versus Forest Folks". Auguts 5, 2012. Author: Meena Menon
[click to view]

[5] World Rainforest Movement. "Indigenous Baiga women in India: “Our story should be heard”. March 11, 2019.
[click to view]

[6] Times of India. "Relocation of villages: Tiger population up in ATR". April 27, 2015. Author: Arjun Chouan
[click to view]

[2] Deccan Herald "Tribals relocated from tiger reserve face livelihood crisis". Aug, 16, 2013
[click to view]

Other comments:We are thankful for the information shared by Devjiit Nandi of Navraska NGO and member of All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM).
Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, [email protected] (ICTA)/ Ankur Paliwal
Last update13/11/2017
Comments
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