Forests as livelihoods for tribals – Project Tiger in Odisha (Orissa)

EcoWalktheTalk blog post dated May 13th, 2010

Indian social workers Pushpanjali Sathpathy & Gunjan Jain highlight the real fate of tigers and the indigenous people of Simlipal Biosphere Reserve in the east Indian state of Orissa. Simlipal Biosphere Reserve was included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. What is the official media account and what is the fate of the tribals who have been dislocated? Who bears the real costs of displacement, and who should in fact bear the responsibility? […]

Forests as livelihoods for tribals

We were shown some 30 varieties of indigenous seeds of pulses, millets, crops, vegetables, and roots used or grown by the villagers in their village inside Simplipal. It was evident that it would be very difficult for them to practice the same kind of farming that they used to do in the new location. This time of the year, they could have prepared for the second crop on their original land. Now, however, they are not only jobless but have lost this season’s harvest as well. It was clear that the Project Tiger authorities had not ensured the basic amenities required for ensuring a secure livelihood before relocating the forest dwelling tribal families of Jenabil to Ambadiha. […]

The displaced from Jenabil have new neighbors who were once their old neighbors belonging to tribal families (23 families from Bathuri community, jenabil and 8 families from kharia community, Kabataghai) displaced in 1998 from the same Simlipal core area and settled here. […]

The forest department and the block administration in Udala say it is the responsibility of the Project Tiger director to look into all the problems and promises of the displaced people. […]

If tribals were the real enemies of the tigers then the only tigers left would not have been in tribal areas. Time can only say if the Simlipal tigers will be saved or not by the displacement of the tribals leaving only government forestry staff in-charge, but it is already evident that the tribals cannot be saved by relocating them in this manner.

Source: Endangered Tigers and the Fate of Indigenous peoples: The Story of Jenabil, India | EcoWalktheTalk
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