Eviction over coffee

Tribals will be rehabilitated, but how?

By C Balaji
Published: Saturday 15 April 2006

the district administration of Chickmagalur district, Karnataka, is set to initiate an eviction drive to free the land encroached by coffee growers. By March 31, 2006, it will reclaim 23 hactares (ha) of the 6,700 ha of government and forest land encroached by coffee growers in the Sargado reserve forest in Chickmagulur district. The land will be handed over to 32 tribal families who will be displaced in the drive.

The state government has agreed to provide around 0.7 ha, a house and a compensation amount of Rs 1.5 lakh, besides bearing the transportation charges, as the rehabilitation package to each displaced family, say the district administration officials. "Our drive is against the big encroachers but not against the tribal families inhabiting the forest," says Harsh Gupta, district collector of Chickmagalur. There are around 200 landless tribal families in the 6,700 ha of coffee-grower encroached land in Sargado. But as of now, the Karnataka government has no concrete plan for the resettlement of the rest of the 170 families. Its officials just mumble that they would be given land in the next phase of rehabilitation.

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