NEW DELHI: Tribals who are being displaced from tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries should be covered by the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, according to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST). The NCST will suggest this to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in a meeting at the end of the month, said an official at the Commission.
“The Commission is of the view that the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 should be applicable to tribal communities being displaced from tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. The NCST holds the view that the tribals are not being adequately compensated at the moment. So it arrived at this decision on Friday, that the LARR Act should be applicable to tribals in the reserve belts,” said the official. The LARR Act has provisions for compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement of communities when their land is taken away.
Currently, tribal families displaced from wildlife areas and tiger reserves are given Rs10 lakh per adult of a family under a scheme of the Forest Rights Act. On paper, the Act says the tribals can move out voluntarily. However, this is grossly violated in practice, said the Commission. The condition of the tribal communities was assessed in tiger reserves in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala. The Commission had earlier asked the environment ministry to increase the compensation from the existing Rs10 lakh per family to 20 lakh. It had formed a three-member committee for this purpose. The panel includes members from the Madhya Pradesh and Odisha governments and the National Tiger Conservation Authority DIG.