Tribal Ressetlement

NRD Assignment Displacement, rehabilitation and resettlement of tribal from India’s protected areas Table of Contents Problem Statement:1 Relevance/ Rationale:1 Methodology:2 Findings:2 Conclusion:3 Bibliography3 Problem Statement: To identify the issues related to displacement, rehabilitation and resettlement of tribals from India’s protected areas. Relevance/ Rationale: Conflicting claims over natural resources have always been there, whether between man and other species, or among men.

With the advent of industrialization and the burgeoning population, the forests of India are faced with immense pressure, which transfers to its inhabitants, both human and wild. To safeguard the dimming biodiversity of India, Protected areas have been made, and many tribal who reside in these areas are relocated to areas outside the parks. The tribal have been living in forest and mountainous regions, with in the close proximity of nature. The economy of the tribal has been primarily hunting-foraging and shifting cultivation. More than 90% of the tribal, to a large extant depend on forests and forests resources for their livelihood.

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The scheduled tribes have been facing many socio-economic and psychological problems since historical times. The forest laws have curtailed the free movement of tribal in forest regions. The tribal rights on the forest lands have severely affected. Shifting cultivation (Konda Podu) has been regulated by restrictions on the use of forests. Use of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs) by tribal has been reduced to a large extent. Exploitation by money lenders and contractors, problems of credit and market for Minor Forest Produces (MFPs), poverty, hunger, alnutrition and impoverishment are the important evils, which the tribal have been facing since long time (Misra, 2000). Land alienation and displacement are the major problems, which have been haunting, most of the tribal groups. Most of the tribal groups have virtually reached a state of total collapse and seem to be fighting a grim battle for survival. The occurrence of tribal revolts for land rights in different parts of the country is its testimony. The large scale land transfers to non-tribal culminated in armed tribal uprisings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

British administration in India introduced several legislations to prevent tribal land alienation. In order to ensure that the customary rights of the tribal on land are protected, the Agency Tracts Interest and Land Transfer Act (ATILTA) were promulgated in 1917 (Rao, 1999). While there exists a National Rehabilitation Policy, many relocated tribals face issues ranging from discomforts to fatalities. Given the low levels of awareness among tribals residing in protected areas, there is also a chance that many requirements are not met, even because of their being unaware of their rights.

It is in this context that we intend to research the issues in resettlement and rehabilitation, covering pre- relocation, post resettlement, and the process in between, to see what issues may exist. Methodology: Study Site: Chikhaldara – Tahsil, Melghat. It is a Scheduled Area and main resident of area are Korku-a Scheduled Tribe. Korku is the predominant tribe in the region . Their dialect is Korku but Hindi is also commonly spoken among them. The major part of Melghat region is covered with Tiger Reserve (buffer zone) and the reserve forest.

Data for this assignment was collected in both primary and secondary methods. Primary data was collected prior to the assignment during December 2012. Secondary data was collected mainly through use of the internet, from papers and articles published online, as well as from journals that were accessed online. Primary data was collected during December 2012. The data collected is mainly in the forms of photographs of the settlement, including amenities provided in the newly established villages, and an unstructured interview of a few affected people which was videographed.

The persons to be interviewed were selected based on judgment sampling, where we went beyond the main road of the village where the authorities took us to, and interviewed persons living in the homes in the nearby lanes. Due to unfamiliarity with the people’s customs, we took along with us a local who showed us other homes. Four families were represented in the interview by members who were available, out of 200 families in the village. Figure 1: Photograph taken at study site Findings: Multiple issues were identified in the course of this assignment, including: * The displaced tribal and other weaker sections are getting marginalized. These people are not skilled they don’t find any employment in urban set-up, and they are forced to occupations like rag picking, rickshaw pulling and even bonded labor. * As the tribal are illiterate and innocent, they are exploited by the traders and non-tribal in most cases. Most often they take loans from traders and non-tribal and remain indebted. * Lack of general sanitation in the new settlement. * Increased mortality rate in the village (as reported by the affected people) – The toll of malaria in Melghat is very high.

Due to this malaria impact the general vitality of people is very low and people also fall prey to pneumonia, bronchitis and other disease. All these clubbed together known as Melghat fever (Khandare, 2004). * Lack of healthcare facilities, which were provided to them before relocation. * Lack of proximity to modern amenities. * Lack of proximity or access to NTFPs as well as medicinal plants. * Low levels of awareness of financial planning has led to bad investments by people, leaving many people with no option but to be daily wage laborers. * Lack of proximity to schools. Lack of care at government hospitals means the people visit private hospitals, and as a result have difficulties paying for treatment, often depleting their savings, which including the 10 lakh rupee compensation which is their only solid security. * Disturbed social structure as number of family members over 18 years is the criterion for deciding compensation, leading to dissatisfaction among those with larger land holdings in the forest. * Cost of agricultural land is very high in the new location, so the pursuit of agriculture is difficult, as their compensation does not match the high cost. Malnutrition – shortage of food supplies and lack of medical facilities by the concerned departments. * The locals were charged for relocation costs, which very significantly high, given that they were relocated with their homes. Conclusion: There exists a significant gap between policy and requirement, and also between policy and implementation. Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) policies at the National and State Levels, though are expected to safeguard the interests of the displaced persons, they are not practiced in the right spirit.

Rehabilitation apart from depriving them of their lands, livelihoods and resource-base, displacement has other traumatic psychological and socio-cultural consequences. It is a slow and continuous process, which requires an organized effort over a period of time. There should be more emphasis on improved communication, it results in a more effective grievance redressed process from the perspective of local people, which in turn ensures that problems in the rehabilitation process are addressed before they become too serious.