Can Tribal Dwellers and Tigers Co-Exist with one Another? Essay

Can Tribal Dwellers and Tigers Co-Exist with one Another? Essay

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Forests and the tribal dwellers residing in them are inter- linked and it is not possible to disassociate one from the other. These tribal dwellers are critical stakeholders who have substantial resource rights and privileges over these forests. They are dependent on forests for its basic produce and eke out a livelihood on its products. There is another popular notion hovered around by wildlife enthusiasts, that both tigers and tribal dwellers cannot co- exist with one another. Hence, they have to be rehabilitated and resettled upon declaration of an area as Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH) or Critical Wildlife Habitat (CWH). However, this is a fallacious agreement since it can be seen that many of these tribal dwellers have managed to live harmoniously with the animals for many decades now. They in fact, aid the process of conservation. Hence, to evict them primarily on the ground of protecting the tiger would be grave wrong being committed against the innocent dwellers. This has been a persistent conflict between the Ministries of Tribal Affairs (MOTA) and Environment and Forests (MOEF). Right against arbitrary relocation is one of the vital safeguards granted to the tribals by virtue of the Forest Rights Act. It is of utmost importance that viable alternative livelihood options are being made available to them before they are resettled. For example, let us take the case of Sariska National Park and TR, Rajasthan: Declared a sanctuary in 1959, a tiger reserve in 1978-79, and a national park in 1992. In 1980, one village (71 families) was removed by force to avoid conflicts with tigers . The relocation was very ineffective and some villagers even came back to their original settlements within the protected area . There are still 24...

... middle of paper ... Orissa, the Dongria Kondh tribes of Niyamgiri hills were being evicted without being provided with adequate compensation or reasonable job opportunities. They were being deprived of their homes and all the other things that they depend upon for their basic sustenance. Hence, no relocation should take place until adequate basic facilities and land allocations in the new place have been completed. In some cases, the relocation package includes provisions like drinking water and irrigation facilities- Ex, in the case of relocation from Melghat protected area in Maharashtra . Some families can also have no access to landownership or land titles in the relocation process ex, in the case of relocation from Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand . This poses as an obstacle to the dwellers as they are being deprived of their titles which they are rightfully entitled to.

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