BENGALURU:Tribal families living in wildlife and national parks have shown little enthusiasm for the rehabilitation proposal of the state government, Forest Minister Ramanath Rai said here on Friday.
Of the 8,552 tribal families living in four wildlife/national parks in the state, only 2,061 have agreed to move out of the forests, the minister said.
However, Rai said the Forest Department would continue its efforts to convince the families to shift to rehabilitation centres.
“It is not mandatory for them to accept the offer,” he said.
Of the 1,378 families in Kudremukh National Park, 458 have consented to move out, Rai said. But of the 3,788 families in Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, only 629 have opted for rehabilitation.
Of the 736 tribals in the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, 418 are willing to move out and of the 1,150 families in Nagarahole National Park, 556 have agreed to leave, Rai said.
However, of the 1,500 tribal families living within the BRT Tiger Reserve range, no one has come forward to leave the forests, he said.
When asked about the Centre’s proposal on declaring Kudremukh National Park as the new base for a tiger project, he said,”The proposal is yet to be discussed.” He said the green bench of the Supreme Court has extended the deadline to all the state governments to submit their opinion on the Kasturirangan Report on the Western Ghats till April.
He said the state government is striving to protect the lives and livelihood of residents by reducing the size of the eco-sensitive zone as declared by the expert panel.
“Our report would be more rational than the one Kerala submitted to the Union government,” he said.
Incentives for Forest Men
Ramanath Rai expressed satisfaction with the state’s performance in the recent tiger census released by the Centre. “To recognise the services of the frontline staff, the Forest Department has decided to reward them,” he said. He said it has been decided to pay an incentive of Rs 1,500 for 74 Range Forest Officers, Rs 1,200 to 121 Forest Officers and Rs 900 for over 705 forest watchers, amounting to over Rs 1.52 crore. “The proposal has been sent to the Finance Department for approval,” he said. The Centre had recently released the 2014 tiger census, which put their total number in the country at 2,226. Karnataka stood first with 406 tigers.