BHUBANESWAR : Pinning hope on reviving the big cat re-introduction programme, the Satkosia Tiger Reserve has initiated a process to create an additional 500-hectare inviolate space in its jurisdiction by relocating two villages along the core area this year.
Satkosia field director M Yogajayanand said they are in the process of shifting two villages along the core line of the forest to facilitate the creation of more spaces devoid of human presence in the reserve. “This will be helpful in expanding the meadows and increasing the prey base for the large cats,” he said.
The director said the process has already been initiated for the shifting of families from Katrang village within the Satkosia wildlife division. “Of 120 families in the village, 70 families have agreed to accept the rehabilitation package. We are also reaching out to the remaining 50 families to initiate the shifting at the earliest,” he said.
The shifting of Katrang will help the Satkosia Tiger Reserve management to create an inviolate space of 440 hectares. Besides, the forest officials are also expecting to create 40 to 50 more hectares of inviolate space by shifting families from Asanbahal into the buffer area.
Satkosia DFO Saroj Kumar Panda said people from the two villages will be shifted as per the new rehabilitation package in which each family will be paid `15 lakh along with additional benefits such as land and house under Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana.
Those who do not opt for additional benefits will be provided with an additional `5 lakh cash incentive by the State government. A budget of `31 crore has been placed with the tiger reserve for this purpose. The DFO said Katrang families have opted for cash benefits and incentives, while families of Asanbahal will be provided `15 lakh and additional benefits. The land has also been identified for their shifting, he said.
The process of providing cash to the beneficiaries of Katrang village will start in a fortnight, the DFO said. Once the two villages are shifted, relocation measures will be taken up for three more villages in the buffer area. Besides, community orientation will also be done in other villages surrounding the tiger habitat, he said. The project intended to revive the tiger population in Satkosia has been suspended since December 2019 following the death of the tiger Mahavir and the shifting of tigress Sundari back to Kanha.