Bhubaneswar: Similipal Surakshya Manch (SSM), a forum consisting of the villages within the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) affiliated to Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD), on Friday protested the forcible eviction of the villagers from the STR.
They alleged that the state government is flouting all norms of Forest Rights Act, 2006 and Wildlife Protection (amendment )Act, 2006.
Holding a press conference here, they alleged that the district administration under the pressure from the Wildlife Department is seriously engaged in misguiding the innocent tribal using Wildlife NGOs.
Telenga Hasa of Jamunagarh village(core area) who still continue to live along with other two families, despite 35 families were relocated from the village in September 2015, narrated how the villagers were lured.
“The district administration along with the NGOs misguided the 35 families of our village promising to give 2 acres of cultivable land and 10 lakh rupees in the rehabilitated village at Nabara near Udala Sub-division. Our people never opted for 10 lakh cash but the district administration compelled them,” he said.
“While Forest Rights Act, 2006 empowered us to live a dignified life in the village, the district administration, and wildlife department are harassing us to leave the village so that they can fulfill their dream to make the Similipal a national Park.” he further said.
Sama Sidu and Tribandha Barja of village Khejuri, one of the buffer villages, alleged that they never thought to be relocated from their village.
“But very recently on 16th November 2016, the district administration held a gram sabha meeting where Tahasildar and BDO along with the wildlife officials and NGOs came and asked the people to leave the village taking 10 Lakh rupees. They also promised us to provide 10 decimal homestead land and one pucca house under Biju Kutir Yojana. They said that you can lead a better life in the interest of the 10 lakhs. However, all the families in our village opposed their proposal,” they said.