OTHERS

Plan to relocate tribal people opposed

MANGALORE, AUG. 1. The Guruvayanakere-based Rashtriya Udyanavasi Samrakshana Samiti has urged the Government to give up its "dual stand" towards the tribal people living in the Kudremukh National Park (KNP).

It has requested the Government to come up with alternatives to expedite the development of the tribal people rather than evict them from the national park.

In a press release issued here recently, the Samiti said that while the State Government had maintained that it would not forcibly evict tribal people and small farmers from the national park, it had also announced a Rs. 60-crore package to relocate them to 10 centres.

This had resulted in confusion among the tribal people, it added.

Title deeds

The samiti urged the Government to provide title deeds to families living in the national park.

Noting that most of such families were living in Sringeri of Chikmagalur district, it requested the Government to start the programme of issuing title deeds from there.

The samiti said the main reason for a spurt in naxalite activities in the region was the fear of eviction among farmers and tribal people.

The problem would only accentuate if the Government failed to provide title deeds to the people living in the national park, it said.

The samiti urged the Government to evolve development plans to improve the tribal settlements. This included providing basic amenities such as roads, drinking water, grants to sustain forest produce, providing solar lights, and construction of anganwadi centres.

The samiti welcomed the stand taken by the MLAs of Karkala, Chikmagalur, Mudigere, and Tirthahalli against naxalites, who have given a call for armed struggle against the establishment.

Team

Referring to the move by the Government to constitute a team headed by the Development Commissioner, Vijay Gore, to study the issue, the samiti noted that the "failure" of the officials concerned led by Mr. Gore in conducting public contact programmes in the national park areas in the past had lead to the present crisis situation. "We do not believe that the recommendations of these officials will ease the situation," it said.

The samiti alleged that the reports submitted by the Forest Department were always against the interests of the tribal people and small farmers.

It urged the Government to protect their interests after obtaining the suggestions of local elected representatives.

Stay

The samiti urged the Union Government to take steps to vacate the stay granted by the Supreme Court on its orders to provide title deeds to the tribal people.

It noted that the solution to the problem was in taking a decision to help the tribal people rather than evicting them from the national park.

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