Fear of tigers haunts these aboriginals… 

Fear of tigers haunts these aboriginals… 
Highlights

Though the fiery felines tramping in the wild in Kadem-Jinnaram-Kawal Tiger Zone may give smiles to wildlife activists and Forest officials alike, everything is not fine with the residents of tribal villages surrounding the sanctuary. 

Kawal Tiger Zone residents find it difficult to get brides and grooms; seek urgent rehabilitation with better package

Kawal: Though the fiery felines tramping in the wild in Kadem-Jinnaram-Kawal Tiger Zone may give smiles to wildlife activists and Forest officials alike, everything is not fine with the residents of tribal villages surrounding the sanctuary.

With the fear of these ferocious tigers straying into human habitats and mauling the inhabitants lurking around, especially at nights, the villagers are living a life of dread over the past many years.

Residents of tribal hamlets in remote forest areas in the region have been appealing to the authorities to relocate them as early as possible providing a better package as chances of a human-wildlife conflict are high.

Sounds incredible but true, but a significant reason seeking relocation from the area is that nobody is coming forward to give their sons and daughters in marriage to the residents of hamlets. In Mynampet hamlet, 50 men and women remain unmarried as fixing a match for them became difficult.

In Rampur village of Udumpur panchayat of Kadem mandal, a tiger killed a cow. A woman in the village, Nayikapoda Lakshmi, expressed apprehension over the tiger attacking them at any moment. Another villager, Siripuram Raju, expressed helplessness of the villagers to leave the hamlet for a safer place in spite of a tiger being on prowl in the village.

Yet another resident, Gangubai, said they eked out a living by selling the forest produce and weaving bamboo mats. The villagers’ condition turned worse with the government declaring the areas as a tiger zone.

To reach Mynampeta, one has to walk through thick forest. The village has a population of 250. Since a tiger is on prowl in the village, the villagers anticipate tiger attack at any moment. A villager, Patel Lachchulu, said the village was frequented by wild boars and leopards.

During rainy season, communications with outside villages cut off as streams are in spate. It is pertinent to note here that two expectant mothers living in the village died for want of medical help in the recent times.

To add to their woes, there is acute drinking water shortage. Moreover, the yield from the crops being raised by them is poor. In the absence of a pucca road, it would take at least one day for them to reach the plains on foot. Returning to the village was almost ruled out because of the threat from wild animals like tigers, leopards and wild boars, said a resident of remote village Pendram Bheem Rao.

Villagers Atram Hanmanthu (34) and Arka Bhagawan (30) could not get soul mates so far as none evinced an interest in giving their daughters in marriage to them. Similarly, tribal girls in the villages find getting married a difficult task.

Referring to the rehabilitation package issued to tribals in Tadoba Tiger Zone in Maharashtra, the Kawal Tiger Zone residents have been demanding a better financial package of Rs 20 lakh, as against Rs 10 lakh given to their Tadoba counterparts, five acres of land and a home to each tribal youth who crossed 18 years.

They seek medical, health and education facilities in rehabilitated villages, government jobs for youth who passed SSC and Intermediate and a pension of Rs 2,000 because of the loss of livelihood.

The tribals have been lamenting that the government promised them to relocate during the past four years, but failed to keep the promise. They have been appealing to the Revenue and Forest officials to conduct a survey of the area and relocate them in a safe and alternative place.

Meanwhile, the officials are gearing up relocate the people of Rampur and Mynampet in Kadem mandal, Allipalli, Dongapalli and Malyal in Jannaram mandal. However, the tribals have been urging the officials to relocate them by March next.

By Totla Chinna Anjaiah

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