Tribals adamant

Published: Tuesday 15 February 1994

-- Tribals in Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka are opposing a state government plan to relocate them within the park, claiming it would adversely affect their way of life. According to the plan, the 6,145 tribals living in 54 settlements spread over the park are to be relocated in a 2,000-ha plot and provided with housing, school and hospital amenities.

Although Union government clearance for the scheme is awaited, the biggest hitch to the project is that the tribals do not want to move. Says Channaiah, the leader of 70 Kurubas families, "We will die if we are moved elsewhere."

Forest officer S N Devaraju claims the relocation plan was formulated because the tribals had cleared large tracts of forest land and leased them to neighbouring villagers for cultivation. Forest officials say the tribals also allowed cattle from villages on the periphery of the park to graze inside for a fee.

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