DNA, June 3 2017
Nearly 600 families living in Rohinkhidki village in Akot wildlife division in Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) are being shifted out of the core forest area to protect the natural habitat of wild animals and to avoid man-animal conflict.
The forest department has provided alternative land in nearby Pingli and Kamod villages located in the buffer zone of the MTR for the purpose of rehabilitation.
The process of rehabilitating the residents of Rohinkhidki in Akot wildlife division of the MTR has gained momentum with the shifting of household material by some villagers to new rehabilitation site, the forest department said in a press release.
“Around 594 families living in the protected core area of the jungle are being rehabilitated to maintain the natural habitat of the wild animals and avoid man animal conflict,” it said.
It is expected that the forest officials will complete the work of plotting at this place within a week or so and all the villagers will shift there. The total number of families being shifted from Rohinkhidki, comprising Shemba and Gumthi hamlets, is 594, the release added.
The forest department has developed grasslands and meadows in Shemba and Gumthi, where the density of herbivores has increased considerably in absence of biotic interference.
Deputy conservator of forest, Akot Wildlife Division, P C Lakra, said, “The department has received Rs 60 crore from the government and the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).” According to him, two compensation options were offered to the villagers.
“Under the first option, each family was offered Rs 10 lakh cash, while as per the other alternative, facilities worth Rs 10 lakh are to be made available to rehabilitate the villagers,” he said.
So far, the forest department has deposited Rs 2.90 lakh in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries (who have opted for cash compensation) as well Rs 4 lakh in the form of recurring deposit (RD), he said.
The department will require Rs 18 crore more to carry out further rehabilitation work, Lakra added.
Pingli village is situated around two kms from Sonala, where the villagers can get facilities like bus transport, medical, education and market. The distance between Kamod and Sonala is around four kms. The forest department will put in place internal roads, drinking water facilities, electricity in both these villages.
M S Reddy, chief conservator of forest and field director of MTR, Amravati, is monitoring the rehabilitation work.
After Rohinkhidki, the forest department also plans to relocate Talai village here to make Akot wildlife division inviolate, the release said.