The indomitable tigers of Corbett are set to get more breathing space with the environment ministry sanctioning Rs 65 crore for relocating 1,000 homes in Sundherkhal village. Sunderkhal falls in the tiger corridor connecting dense forest on two sides of the Kosi river.
Now, in a bid to check man-tiger conflict — tigers have killed at least a dozen people in the village in the last four months — the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has decided to release R65 crore for relocation of the village and implementing the annual action plan of Corbett in the current financial year.
With the tiger population in Corbett rising to 214 from 164 in last four years, the village has borne the maximum onslaught. After Kaziranga, Corbett witnessed maximum increase in tiger population.
“I agree the man-tiger conflict is a very sensitive and major issue in Uttarakhand as in some other states,” environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in a letter to Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Over 40 people have died in tiger-human conflict in the state in the last six months, which also resulted in death of about eight tigers.
The digital mapping of tigers in Corbett shows the new tiger population has spread to the outskirts of 2,295-sq km big reserve, especially in the Ram Nagar forest division, where the Sunderkhal village is located.
Under the plan, each household will get either Rs 10 lakh as compensation or an alternative land. The relocation, however, will be voluntary in nature.
NCTA’s generosity may fall short of expectations as there is no plan to check the growth of hotels/resorts on the banks of Kosi around Sunderkhal. “Most of these resorts have come up on revenue land which is not under the forest department’s jurisdiction,” said a state forest department official.
Although Jairam Ramesh has emphasised on a check on unregulated growth of hotel industry around Corbett, he has pushed the ball into the state’s court to take action.