Tribal families ‘illegally’ lease land for ginger cultivation

Tribal families relocated from the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve and allotted land to take up agriculture as part of rehabilitation effort have leased their land to contractors for ginger cultivation, much to the consternation of the authorities.

The project entailed rehabilitating nearly 350 tribal families on the outskirts of forests and providing 2 to 4 acres of land per family to enable them to shift to agriculture besides ensuring Rs. 1,000 a month as interest on a fixed deposit maintained in their names.

The objective was to wean them away from their forest-based subsistence economy which was becoming difficult owing to restrictions on their movement in tiger reserves and depletion of forest cover.


Hence forest land outside the tiger reserve area was denotified and handed over to the Revenue Department and subsequently allotted to the tribal community at Shettahalli in Hanagudu hobli of Hunsur taluk.

But now, sources said the lands have been leased for an amount ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 an acre. Many of them have given up agriculture and prefer subleasing their land for a commission.

S. Sreekanth of Development through Education, an NGO working for tribal rehabilitation, told The Hindu that the objective of dissuading the tribal community away from forest-based subsistence economy by encouraging them to shift to agriculture had been defeated. “It will take a generation for the mindset of the tribal people to shift to a different pattern of economy, but it may never take roots if such subleasing is not discouraged,” he said.

Tree-based farming

Tribal activists had suggested tree-based farming system which has been tried in other parts of the country to a great degree of success, but the authorities here cleared land to encourage conventional agriculture among tribal people, and concept has failed, said Mr. Sreekanth.

The issue is tricky as the “lease” is not a written document but an oral agreement under which money changes hand and ginger is cultivated. “There is no irrefutable evidence for us to prove anything,” said H.C. Kantharaj, Conservator of Forests, and added that the issue had been brought to the notice of higher authorities.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 7:07:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tribal-families-illegally-lease-land-for-ginger-cultivation/article8347521.ece

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