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Sariska Tiger Reserver and contentious relocation plan, Rajasthan, India

The pastoralist communities of Sariska are struggling against the 'voluntary relocation plan' launched by the government to save the tiger. The communities are asking for the recognition of the Forest Rights Act and better compensation measures.


In 2005 the Sariska Tiger Reserve was declared having 'No tigers' which was gruesome news of the failure of project tiger after the expenditure of a huge exchequer throughout 50 years of conservation efforts; the authorities put the blame on the traditional forest-dwelling communities, framing them as helpers and associates of poachers.  The community is dominated by the Gujjars (approx. 86%), and other communities include Meena (7.6%), Meo (3.2%), Bawaria (1.7%) and others [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Sariska Tiger Reserver and contentious relocation plan, Rajasthan, India
State or province:Rajasthan
Location of conflict:Alwar
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
Biological resources
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Sariska Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alwar district of Rajasthan state in India. After independence the 456 sq. km. of forest area in Sariska was declared as a wildlife Reserve on 7th November 1955 under the Rajasthan Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act, 1951. At that time no human settlement was displaced from the area. Later on the status of the area upgraded to Wildlife Sanctuary on 18 September, 1958 under the section 5 of the Wild Animals and Birds Protection act, 1951. The status of WLS was again ratified under section 66(4) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In 1978 the Sariska forest was notified as India’s 11th Tiger reserve encompassing a core area of 866 sq. km declared under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, 2006 amendment. Thereafter on 27th August 1982 400.14 sq. Km area of the reserve was notified as National Park under section 35 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

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Project area:121,334.2
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2008
Relevant government actors:National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
Rajasthan Forest Department
International and Finance InstitutionsWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) from Switzerland
International Finance Corporation (of World Bank) (IFC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:KRAPAVIS (Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Social movements
Gujjars, Meenas traditional groups
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The locals are asking for the recognition of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), and the recognition of co-existence within the Forest Reserved area instead of a relocation package as measure to protect the environment.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The people continue to feel the pressure of relocation. Their demands for better compensation have not been heard yet, and protest continue to arise fro the Tiger Reserve.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), Amendment 2006
[click to view]

The Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act, 2006
[click to view]

NTCA Guidelines for Relocation from Critical Tiger Habitat
[click to view]

The Indian Forest Act, 1927
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Viren Lobo (2016) 'Deliberate Deprivation of Forest Resource Rights and Forced Eviction of Indigenous Communities Violation of FRA, 2006 in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar, Rajasthan', a Report by Institute for Ecology and Livelihood Action and Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan(KRAPAVIS)
[click to view]

[click to view]

[6] Purva Jain, Haroon Sajjad, 'Household dependency on forest resources in the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR), India: Implications for management', Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 30 Nov. 2015
[click to view]

[10] Torri M. Costanza (2011) Conservation, Relocation and the Social Consequences of Conservation Policies in Protected Areas: Case Study of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, India. Conservation and Society, 9(1): 54-64, 2011.

Ghazala Shahabuddin et al., 2007. Creation of Inviolate Space: lives, livelihood and conflict in Sariska Tiger Reserve. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 42, No. 20 (May 19-25, 2007), pp. 1855-1862
[click to view]

[2] BBC (2012) 'India village in Rajasthan to relocate to protect tiger'.
[click to view]

[3] ZeeNews, 'Sariska villages protest relocation', May 16, 2012
[click to view]

[4] Times of India, 'Sariska villages block tourist entry ', Author: Rajendra Sharma, March 1, 2013
[click to view]

[7] Times of India 'Villagers intensify stir, stop tourists from entering Sariska Tiger Reserve', May 24. 2018
[click to view]

[8] Times of India, 'No progress in relocation of villages in core, buffer areas of Sariska Tiger Reserve', Author: Rajendra Sharma, May 21, 2018
[click to view]

[9] Times of India 'Rajasthan government mulls to hike compensation for shifting villages from tiger reserve' Author: Joychen Joseph, April 15, 2018
[click to view]

Other documents

Letter from Sariska forest dwellers to MoEF Letter to Jual Oram Tribal Minister on violations of the provisions of FRA in relation to forest dwellers of Sariska (10/05/2017).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB)
Last update24/03/2019
Conflict ID:4111
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