Environment

BHADRA TIGER RESERVE – SHOWCASING ITS VOLUNTARY RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM

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Green Minute News

The voluntary resettlement of 470 families from Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka, India has been widely considered as a model resettlement project in the country. It has in fact, become a training ground for future officers as also a path breaker for people to know how it was done in a unique public-private partnership.

In this regard, a week long training program was held for 21 IFS officers from across the country in Bhadra landscape recently. The WildCAT-C group in Chikkamagaluru facilitated the training program in association with Wildlife Conservation Society-India and Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.

The focus of the training program was basically about ‘Voluntary Resettlement of villages from Tiger Reserves’ and the officers were imparted how and what action was taken for this successful resettlement work. The program had a classroom session where key players in the Bhadra relocation project addressed the trainees and shared their experiences.

Participants in the program included Gopalkrishne Gowda, retired DC, Chikkamagaluru, Yathish Kumar, CF, Haliyala and Girish DV of WildCAT-C and Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust who all had played pivotal roles in the voluntary resettlement project. D V Girish gave a detailed account of Bhadra landscape, its  variety of wildlife and the resettlement saga. Yatish Kumar, CF of Haliyala also shared a few of his experiences during the relocation. He related how he built a personal relationship with the villagers during this process.

On their part, forest department senior officials – PCCF (Wildlife) Sanjai Mohan, Vijay Mohan Raj, CCf, Chikkamagaluru, Dhananjaya, CF outlined the various steps taken by the department for a fair and voluntary settlement from protected areas. Sanjai Mohan briefed the participants about voluntary relocation and its role in wildlife conservation and further spoke about how to improve their conservation efforts. Vijay Mohan Raj, CCF Chikkamagaluru spoke about wildlife of Karnataka and suggested relocation has to be treated as a development activity.

Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Country Director Prakriti Srivastavspoke about NTCA voluntary relocation program in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries as per the IDWH central funding scheme as well as state programs.

The training sessions specifically exposed the forest officers to the successful resettlement of 13 villages and over 470 families from this protected area.21 IFS officers from Gujarat, Telangana, and Rajasthan, UP, J&K, West Bengal, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, TN and AP took part in the event.The session also involved discussions on conservation and management of grassland habitats and grassland associated species like Great Indian Bustard in Karnataka. The participants also had an opportunity to visit M C Halli Resettlement village and other places where they had an opportunity to interact with the villagers who were relocated from the tiger reserve.

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