Naxals see plot to evict villagers from where none live

The declaration of a new forest sanctuary in Maharashtra has upset Naxals,who have issued a pamphlet a few days ago alleging that this was a ploy to uproot tribals from the forest as the sanctuary doesn’t have a single village inside it

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur | Published: July 2, 2012 2:58 am

The declaration of a new forest sanctuary in Maharashtra has upset Naxals,who have issued a pamphlet a few days ago alleging that this was a ploy to uproot tribals from the forest as the sanctuary doesn’t have a single village inside it.

The New Navegaon sanctuary has come up recently adjacent to the existing Navegaon National Park. Principal secretary (forest) Pravin Pardeshi told The Indian Express,“We have taken care that we don’t have any village inside the new sanctuary.”

The Maoists’ North Gadchiroli Gondia divisional committee secretary Baburao Naitam,who issued the pamphlet,has termed the sanctuary “another operation greenhunt to uproot tribals and bring in big resorts and hotels for the entertainment of imperialistic forces.” He has appealed to locals not to move out of their homes.

There were four villages inside the old sanctuary,all of which have been rehabilitated at Saundad on MH-7 on their own insistence. The last of the four villages,which is still partly inside the park,had insisted on being shifted out early after the government said they would have to wait till funds become available for them. “We had received funds only for three villages Jhankargondi,Kalimati and Malkazari. The fourth village,Kaulewada,however,said they too wanted to shift early. But we told them we will send them out only after full rehabilitation money is available for them. But we managed to shift 30 families out so far from the village and the remaining 135 families will be out after the rainy season,” said divisional forest officer S Srinivas Reddy.

“We had been living without basic facilities inside the park. I don’t want my children to suffer for lack of roads,water and medical and educational facilities,” Kaulewada villager Vilas Madkam said.

“Officers said they will shift us later. We said give us whatever you have and give the remaining amount later. But they said it will be done only after full amount is available.”

The government is paying Rs 10 lakh per adult in the family and Rs 1.65 lakh per acre in addition for agricultural land and the cost of a house and a well if any. The package and the opportunity to move out to mainstream areas has led to several villages in Vidarbha’s protected areas and tiger reserves volunteering to leave.

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