Maha: Rs 200 cr for relocation of villages in protected areas

Nagpur, Jul 16: Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has promised to release Rs 200 crore this year for the rehabilitation of villages in protected areas near the core stretch of tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries in and around Vidarbha region in Maharashtra.

Prompted by the relocation of Navegaon (Ramdegi) village inside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in neighbouring Chandrapur district, city Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar had sought over Rs 200-250 crore to relocate 2,176 families in six protected areas in the region as villagers there are facing hardships for want of basic amenities.

Navegaon was relocated after villagers strategically opted for Rs 10 lakh relocation package under Option I and II. Over 200 families went for combination of both packages, making it one of the best relocation exercises.

In a letter to Natarajan last week, the MP had sought to relocate 2,176 families in six PAs housing tigers. Muttemwar said that he had spoken to Natarajan and apprised her on the good prey base and also about the forest contiguity in Vidarbha, due to which tiger population has swollen over time giving rise to several problems, mainly the man-animal conflict.

"After repeated demands, Natarajan promised to release Rs 200 crore this year under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). I will pursue the matter personally," Muttemwar said. He pointed out that Vidarbha has sizeable population of tigers in three tiger reserves- Melghat, Pench and Tadoba-Andhari, besides sanctuaries like Nagzira, Bor and Tipeshwar, which are tiger source areas.

There is not only huge crop damage by wildlife, grazing, but also loss of human life as the big cats are straying into residential areas, Muttemwar said. Recently eight villagers were killed by leopards and four by tigers in Tadoba, Navegaon and Umred-Karhandla.


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