Villagers agree to relocate from MM Hill Sanctuary

Villagers agree to relocate from MM Hill Sanctuary

Residents of Changadi village discuss with DFO Yedukondalu at a meeting in the village, under MM Hills, Chamarajanagar district.

After several years, the residents of Changadi and Padusalnatta villages, under MM Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, have agreed to shift from the forest region.

Changadi has 150 families with a population of 720 people. It covers 485 acres of land. Similarly, Padusalnatta has nearly 45 families.

Despite several attempts by Forest department officials, the villagers were reluctant to shift their base. However, the team of officials, led by MM Hills Deputy Conservator of Forests V Yedukondalu, managed to convince the villagers for relocation.

The Forest department has identified 1,600 acres of land near Chikkalur in Kollegal taluk for the relocation and the villagers have agreed to shift their place.

The DCF said, the government relocates the people under two packages - money package and rehabilitation.

The money package consists of Rs 15 lakh per family, couple and minor children. Under rehabilitation, the department allots three acres of land, a 50X80 residential site and other infrastructure facilities. The department will take care of the relocated family for five years from rehabilitation.

As many as 135 families have applied for rehabilitation and the land survey is completed, he said.

Village head Changadi Kariyappa said, there are no basic facilities in the villages and the officials concerned claim that they cannot take up development works as it is a wildlife sanctuary. "The DCF has assured of providing all the necessary facilities and have explained about the consequences if we stay inside the sanctuary. Now, we have decided to migrate," Kariyappa said.

Farmer leader Honnur Prakash said, another nine villages under the MM Hills are ready for rehabilitation, but, the officials must provide them with adequate facilities.