'Kasturirangan's recommendation to evict forest dwellers is unscientific'

'Tribals should be allowed to reside inside forest'

'Kasturirangan's recommendation to evict forest dwellers is unscientific'

“Forest can be saved only when forest dwellers are allowed to reside inside the forest. Such an initiative has been successful in Tripura. The area under forest has increased in Tripura over the last few years,” said expert U Basavaraju from Mysore. 

Speaking at a seminar on status of tribals organised by Karnataa Rajya Adivasigala Samanvaya Samithi, at Patrika Bhavana in Madikeri on Friday, he said “the forest dwellers who have been residing inside forest for generations have been given all the basic infrastructure facilities.

About 1.70 lakh hectare forest has been divided among 1.20 lakh families. Tripura government had promoted forest based agriculture. Accordingly, horticulture crops were grown inside the forest. By promoting such activities, forest also can be conserved, he added. 

He said Kasturirangan’s recommendation to evict forest dwellers to conserve Western Ghats is unscientific. 

Tribals are part of environment and nature. It is not right to conserve forest by keeping him them of the purview of the forest. 

Basavaraju said “the state government has completely failed to bring the forest dwellers out of the forest and rehabilitate them. Those tribals who had come out of the forest have failed to adopt to the lifestyle and have become prey to bad habits. The rehabilitation schemes aim to convert the tribals into bonded labourers.” 

He said that tribal men and women are subjected to various kinds of harassment in urban areas. 

“As a fruit of our fight demanding rights for the forest dwellers, the government had passed Forest Rights Act 2006. However, the Act has not been implemented effectively. Those tribals who enter into the forest are harassed by the officials and criminal cases are filed against them,” he said. 

“A few Non Government Organisations are functioning in the name of rehabilitation packages for the forest dwellers, for which, they get crores of rupees from foreign countries. However, none of the tribals have seen any development,” he accused.

Samithi president Baby Mathew, members K R Vidyadar, P R Bharath, Mahadeva, Kishore Kuttappa and others were present. 

Comments (+)