Fear of eviction haunts tribal people in national park

'Forest dwellers should be given right to collect forest produce'

Kudremukh National Park Nagarika Samithi President Mundagaru Puttappa has urged the State government to clear psychological insecurity being felt by the tribals residing in Kudremukh National Park limits.

Speaking to mediapersons on Friday, he said 90 per cent of tribals residing inside the national park which covers four districts are opposed to the eviction drive. The government authorities should convene a meeting of the forest dwellers and try to solve their agony. Tribals have been residing inside the forest for three generations and the committee is opposed to any move to evict the tribals and traditional forest dwellers.

He said the government should stop outsiders and agencies from collecting forest produce inside the national park.

The right of collecting forest produce should be entrusted to the tribals and traditional dwellers.

He welcomed the decision of the government to bring Maoists to the mainstream of the society by holding dialogues with them. He called upon the Maoists to make use of the opportunity and come forward to the mainstream of the society.

He urged the government to withdraw all the cases filed against tribals and traditional dwellers in the name of supporting Maoist movement. The Naxal package announced by the government has not reached the tribals.

 If the authorities take up the work on repairing roads in Maoists-infested areas, then the remote villages can be reached without any problem.

“Tribal children should be educated. The government should employ them. Those who do not like to come out of the forest should be allowed to live inside the forest, by providing basic facilities,” he said.

Encroachment of land

In a separate press meet, Prajaprabhutva Ulisi Andolana Vedike worker Suma Nagesh has said that the government should contain land mafia and encroachment of the government land in name of farmers.

She said the government had sanctioned 4.38 acres land to each poor family under form number 50 to 53 in 1980’s and 1990’s. In the process, a few influential persons have received the land. There is a need to review the land sanctioned during the period and land distributed in fictitious names should be taken back and criminal case should be filed against such land holders.

She said the government should regularise all encroached land which was acquired to eke out living by the poor.

Land and sites should be distributed among poor beneficiaries. The government should come forward to construct houses for poor families who are ready to come out of the encroached forest land. There is a need to bring in transparency in identifying poor beneficiaries.

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