Clearing core forest areas of people who have always lived there: in the name of the tiger – Chhattisgarh

Meena Menon, The Hindu, August 1, 2012

New Jalda is an example of how, in the name of the tiger, clearing core forest areas of people who have always lived there does not work well for them

For a tribe that was forbidden from ploughing the earth by religious tenets and had a special ceremony to mark the death of a person killed by a tiger, the Baiga face eviction from the forest. Their lives, once so inextricably linked with nature, could well turn into jungle lore. […]

The Baiga are also not used to many other things. They are not used to staying hungry, not finding work and not having a little money to satisfy their meagre needs. And so in new Jalda, Sam bai makes jokes about her situation to cover her misery.

“Would I be here if there was work to do?” she laughs. “In our old village we had some money and many things to collect and eat from the forest,” she says. Their claims, under the Forest Rights Act, aimed at redressing a historical injustice, were not settled and here too the land is not yet in their name. But what she misses most is the datun or the neem twigs which are used for cleaning teeth. The Baiga, as the DFO would say, are not used to toothbrushes. […]

While the Baiga families have rights to minor forest produce (MFP), the question is: where will they get it from?

To eliminate biotic pressure

The relocation plan for these six villages, in the words of the plan document, is being done “to ensure the habitat development of the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve particularly to create meadows as well as to eliminate the biotic pressure in the core area.” The reserve was notified in 2009. But while villages are being relocated, large herds of cattle seem to have a free run of the forest. The Yadav community seems to have converted large tracts of land in the 311 sq. km buffer zone into commercial cattle grazing grounds. […]

The Baiga are puzzled about this relocation in the name of the tiger. Mr. Pande says now there are five tigers and two cubs in a core area of 626 In 2010, a single tiger was camera trapped after extensive effort. Of 25 villages, 19 of them are in the core area. Of these, six villages comprising 249 families have already been shifted. […]

Source: The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : Relocation plan to nowhere land
Address :
Date Visited: 19 December 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

When your neighbour is a tiger | People’s Archive of Rural India
People living near or within the forest in the Bandipur National Park and the Sundarbans revere as well as fear the tiger. Their proximity to tigers, leopards, crocodiles and other big animals often causes violent confrontations, but it has also inspired myths and conservation. Here are PARI’s tales from tiger territory >>

Tip: more posts with information on India’s forest legislation are found on this website (in reverse chronological order): Forest Rights Act (FRA) | Illegal mining >>