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Jim Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, India

Corbett National Park was established in 1936, the first to be established in Asia. Van Gujjars struggle for the recognition of their forest rights around the Corbett forest protected area.


Corbett National Park was established in 1935 under the name Hailey National Park and it was the first National Park to be established in Asia. The park has a big history of exploitation upon its natural resources and continuous conflict with the local communities. It has been reported that there have been many illegal mining activities taking place and many resorts in the buffer area of the tiger reserve have also encroached on forest land without due clearance [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Jim Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, India
State or province:Uttarakhand
Location of conflict:Ramnagar, Nainital
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Land
Ecosystem Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Corbett National Park was established in 1936. The area came under 'Project Tiger' in 1971 when the Government of India launched this ambitious conservation project. Today after addition of areas into the originally declared National Park, the total area of Tiger Reserve extends to 1,288 sq. km spreading over three districts of Uttarakhand viz., Pauri, Nainital and Almora. The national park covers an area of 521 sq km, while the other part which today represents the entire tiger reserve has been added since 1991, and they include the entire Kalagarh forest division, assimilating the 301 sq km and the area of Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary as a part of the Kalagarh division.

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Project area:128,800
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1000
Start of the conflict:1990
Relevant government actors:Uttarakhand Forest Department
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:All India Union of forest Working People (AIUFWP)
Van Panchayat Sangarsh Morcha
Van Gujjar Kalyan Samiti
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Van Gujjar pastoralist community
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:The Van Gujjars communities are demanding the recognition of the forest rights under FRA, upon the inhabited forest land. As pastoralist and nomadic group the community is asking for the recognition of the right of 'grazing (both settled and transhumant) and traditional seasonal resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities' as sec. 3(1) d of the FRA.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Van Gujjars living within and around Corbett are still demanding for their forest rights, but as for now, their rights are not being legally recognized. No Environmental Justice and Recognition of rights.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006
[click to view]

Wildlife Protection Act, 2006 Amendment
[click to view]

[1] Tehelka. 'Corbett, now on sale'. Author: Mazumdaar Jay, Sept. 17
[click to view]

[2] The Hindu. 'The Forest Won't Forget: A struggle for land in Ramnagar'. Author: Kavita Upadhyay, Jan. 17, 2017.
[click to view]

[3] The Wire. 'No Country For Pastoralists'. Author: Meenal Tatpati and Neema Pathak Broome, Feb. 14, 2018
[click to view]

[4] 'Uttarakhand High Court orders to evict Van Gujjars from forest', in Intercultural Resources, a blog.
[click to view]

[5] The Indian Express. 'Uttarakhand: Van Gujjars are threat to wildlife, their rehabilitation against public policy, says HC'. Author: Kavita Upadhyay, Aug 17, 2018
[click to view]

[6] Hindustan Time. 'Supreme Court directs status quo on relocation of Van Gujjars' Author: Neeraj Santoshi, Sep 24, 2018.
[click to view]

[7] Hindustan Times."Wildlife board agrees to hike compensation to conflict victims" June15, 2018. Author: Nihi Sharma
[click to view]

[8] Times of India "If you can’t protect wildlife, will ask Centre to denotify protected areas". Aug. 11, 2018. Author: Vineet Upadhyay
[click to view]

[9] Protected Area Update Vol. XXIV, No. 4, August 2018, pg. 14.

Down To Earth. 'Supreme Court orders removal of illegal residential colony from Corbett', Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, July 4, 2015.
[click to view]

The Times of India. 'NGT orders eviction of 800 settlers from Corbett'. Seema Sharma, May 25, 2016
[click to view]

The Times of India, 'Van Gujjars to be relocated from Amangarh Tiger Reserve '. Author: Harveer Dabas, April 5, 2017.
[click to view]

The Tribune. Van Gujjars being harassed, says activists. Jan 5, 2017.
[click to view]

Protected Area Update Vol. XXIV, No. 4, August 2018, pg. 14.

Hindustan Times."Wildlife board agrees to hike compensation to conflict victims" June15, 2018. Author: Nihi Sharma
[click to view]

Other comments:We are thankful for the information shared by Tarun Joshi of Van Panchayat Sangarsh Morcha.
Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB), [email protected]
Last update18/02/2019
Conflict ID:3997
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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