With shrinking forest space, conflict between Man and the Tiger has become quite common. Government’s efforts to rehabilitate villages out of tiger reserve are meeting with more and more resistant, and it has become even more difficult with the Forest Rights Act making it subject to villagers’ consent.
In such a scenario comes positive news. In three villages in Melghat hills around 350 families have been successfully relocated. Not only that the villagers have consented, but have also petitioned the Forest Department to rehabilitate them.
The relocation was indeed a great boon for the villagers. Not only has it given them a better access to better infrastructure (markets, education, health facilities, court, police and tehsil headquarters), but the relocation has also made them financially strong. Each the relocation has brought Rs 10 lakh per adult, which includes Rs 5-lakh, six-year fixed deposit that fetches the beneficiary around Rs 4,500 per month; Rs 2 lakh in a savings account and Rs 3 lakh in a nine-month fixed deposit. Earlier the villages did not have any electricity, now they have been given free connections and new ration cards, besides an assured government job to a member of each family. Some the families, have been compensated additionally, who legally owned farmland at their previous locations.
The rehabilitation has not only enhanced space for wild-life, it has proved to be very beneficial for the people. This story shows how if the officials decide to become innovative and are determined, they can solve most intractable of the problems.