Human development holds the key

Hundreds of Adivasi families are dependent upon bamboo for a livelihood in villages in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.— Photo: S. Harpal Singh

Hundreds of Adivasi families are dependent upon bamboo for a livelihood in villages in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.— Photo: S. Harpal Singh  

f late, the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district has become a safe zone more for the resurgent Maoists than tigers. Curiously, however, the clue to controlling extremism also lies in this disappointing phenomenon, if experts are to be believed.

“Implementation of development schemes in tribal habitations located in the park, especially those which concern human development, will definitely make a difference. People who are generally on the path of development are not known to be supportive of Naxalism,” observed a forest official working in KTR, as he alludes to the backing of locals enjoyed by Maoists.

Maharashtra model

The development of villages in the buffer area of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra can be a fine example of decreasing the forest communities’ dependence on forest and inclusive development. In KTR buffer areas, activity should be concentrated on formation of eco-development committees, capacity building for enhancing livelihoods, provision of LPG kits to decrease dependence of Adivasi families on forest for fuel needs and facilitation of value addition and marketing of non timber forest produce.

In the current phase of its resurgence, Maoist activity in the district is confined to the jungles which form the reserve which in turn means that the thrust of anti-naxalite measures need to be restricted to this area only.

The park is spread mostly in the revenue mandals of Tiryani, Sirpur (U), Jannaram, Utnoor, Kadem, Khanapur and Nirmal with its core in 893 sq km and buffer extending to about 1,120 sq km surrounding the core and each entity encompassing about 21 villages besides the 30 located on the fringes.

A majority of these villages have remained backward as corruption and exploitation deprived them of the benefits of several developmental schemes since long. No wonder the Adivasi inhabitants do not hesitate in helping the Maoists who somehow keep their hope of getting ‘justice’ alive.

Caught in red tape

The concept of physical development of villages to contain extremism began to be implemented since the year 2000 but most of the schemes could not reach the poor owing to corruption. Though the economic activity in other villages saw some change, the tribal villages in the Mangi-Indervelli belt falling in KTR by and large remained deprived of it.

Though as much an amount as Rs. 45 crore has been spent in constructions and laying of roads in extremist-affected mandals under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for development of these places, about 15 of the roads crucial to containing Maoism were stuck up for want of forest clearance. For example, the Mankyapur-Mangi stretch was not laid despite being high on the agenda.

“In order to bypass the stringent forest laws all development can be routed through the Forest Department,” opined the forest official.

“The help of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency can also be incorporated in the effort,” he added.

The sympathies of neglected Adivasis of the backward region

in Adilabad lie with extremists

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