Gania: An attempt to turn the Satkosia region under Mahanadi wildlife division and spread over Nayagarh, Angul and Boudh districts into a tiger conservation project has hit roadblocks with the local inhabitants refusing to move out of the area demanding rehabilitation before displacement, a report said.
Most of the local inhabitants are tribals who claimed that the government should consider their rehabilitation and livelihood before taking any step to displace them from their homestead. The unyielding attitude of the triabls has put the government in a fix.
Reports said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the state government have launched joint efforts to turn the Satkosia region into tiger conservation project.
As part of this effort, the state government tried to increase the tiger population in the area and even brought a tiger from the Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary and a tigress from the Bandhavgarh National Park, both in Madhya Pradesh.
The male tiger was identified as Mahavir, while the female tigress as Sundari. However, Mahavir succumbed to unknown diseases during his stay at Satkosia, while the Sundari’s attacks on local residents sparked off unrest in the area.
Meanwhile, the state government had issued a notice seeking to displace the inhabitants of Raiguda village in Angul district, Marda in Boudh district, Kuturi, Salapganda, Musuguda, Bedadi, Kumuri, Tudungi and Damaghati in Nayagarh district in 2018-19.
All the line departments such as Revenue, Panchayati Raj and Wildlife conducted meetings in every village and tried to persuade the villagers to leave their homestead. The concerned officials also explained in details the displacement process and compensation meant for the residents if they agree to the government’s demands. However, the villagers refused to yield and move out from their native villagers where they have been living for several years.
Few days back, the state government returned the female tigress Sundari to Bandhavgarh National Park. Meanwhile, the state government has launched fresh efforts to displace the residents in some tribal-dominated villages under Badasilinga panchayat in Nayagarh district. It has been learnt that the move has sparked tension among the tribals.
The tribals of Damaghati, Bedadi, Tudungi, Kumuri and Jankajhola villages under Badaslinga panchayat recently convened a meeting at a mango orchard in Jankajhola village and voiced their protests over the government’s move. Santosh Kumar Sahu, deputy ranger of Banigochha East Forest Range, Forest officials, former sarpanch of Badasilinga panchayat Prafulla Kumar Nayak, local political leaders Raghunath Sahu and Naib sarpanch Bipracharan Mallick attended the said meeting and had threadbare discussion with the tribals about the displacement process.
On their part, the tribals drew the attention of the officials to protecting their rights and interest under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and R&R Policy, 2005.
They demanded that the government should first think of about their rehabilitation and livelihood following which they would consider leaving their villages. The tribals said similar meetings will be held in other tribal villages also.