After Chhattisgarh State Tribal Advisory Council gave its approval to a proposal by the forest branch for rehabilitation of three villages located in the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve in state’s Bilaspur district, the forest branch has sent a request to the central government for a similar.
As per Extra Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF) (wildlife) Arun Pandey, there are a complete of 25 villages in the core area of tiger reserve out of which six villages were relocated and rehabilitated in 2010.
“Out of remaining 19 villages, proposals of relocation of three villages have been sent to the ministry of surroundings and forest for the clearance of forest land diversion,” said Pandey.
The officer further said that the survey outline of the remaining 16 villages of core area of the tiger reserve has started and soon a proposal for their rehabilitation can also be sent to the Central ministry.
“We are starting a door-to-door crusade to record everything approximately the families to be displaced and soon it is going to also be completed,” said Pandey.
The Achanakmar Tiger Reserve was once established in 2009. The complete area of the reserve is 911.017 square kilometers in which 626.1 square kilometer is core area and approximately 287.8 is buffer zone. In between 2009 and 2011, a complete of six villages were relocated by the forest branch.
“The people of these villages were to begin with reluctant to move out and there were other reasons because of which the relocation was once stalled,” said a senior forest officer.
The forest branch claimed that they’re giving all benefits to these villagers as per the relocation guidelines of the Central government.
“When these villages are removed, we can get many grasslands in the reserve and then we will be able to develop the tiger reserve,” said Pandey.
Meantime, the wildlife activists also claimed that the relocation is a welcome step.
“The people were agreed to be relocated from a very long time but the forest branch is relocating after 10 years of formation of the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve. This is superb for wildlife and tiger reserve, whether it happens,” said Meetu Gupta, member of the State Wildlife Board.
Chhattisgarh has two national parks, three tiger reserves, eight sanctuaries, and one biosphere reserve covering 11,310.977 sq km, which is 8.36% of the state’s complete geographical area and 18.92 % of the state’s complete forest area of 59,772 sq km.