Under voluntary relocation scheme of Ministry of Environment and Forests

As many as 75 families are preparing to leave their settlements in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) under a voluntary relocation project of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The Ministry handed over Rs.4.46 crore to the State Forest Department on Monday for the implementation of the package, O.P. Kaler, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Conservator (biodiversity cell), told The Hindu.

Seventy-five eligible families of 57 households, including 40 tribal households, in the Kurichyat settlement (a remote settlement inside the core area of the sanctuary) would be relocated under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat Scheme (IDWHS) of the Ministry at a cost of Rs.6 crore, he said.

Air for resettlement

Earlier the Ministry had allotted Rs.7.8 crore to relocate the settlers in the Kottamkara settlement inside the WWS and the department had spent Rs.6.2 crore for the purpose. The remaining amount would be utilised in Kurichyat, he added.

As per a study conducted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Peechi, in 2010, there were 94 families eligible to be relocated from the settlement. But 19 tribal families declined to cooperate with the project, Mr. Kaler said.

According to the study, as many as 1,388 people in 880 families in 14 settlements inside the sanctuary needed to be relocated in the first phase at an estimated cost of Rs.80 crore.

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