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Plan to save Sariska kicks off

The Centre's Rs 4.21 crore project to save the sanctuary ? which includes relocating four villages ? has taken off, reports KS Tomar.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 02:49 IST
KS Tomar
KS Tomar
None

Tigers in Sariska will have more space in the wild. The Union government's Rs 4.21 crore project to save the sanctuary — which includes relocating four villages — has taken off. Once the villages are shifted, two tigers and three tigresses will be brought here from Ranthambhore.

Bardordodh Rundh, four kms from the Behrore national highway and Mojpur Roondh in Alwar district, have been shown to the villagers. But the relocation plan will kick-off only when the villagers of Bhagani, Kankwadi, Umri and Kaska are convinced of the alternate sites. R.K. Gupta, an IFS officer, is in constant touch with the villagers to address their grievances. Gupta feels at least 11 villages need to be shifted to save the sanctuary.

Ratan Lal, a farmer in one of the fringe villages has spent a good 55 years of his life rearing cattle here. Lal told HT that he would agree to the relocation plan only if the government enhances the financial package from rupees one lakh to five lakh and each family gets 15 bighas instead of the promised six bighas.

Others like Daya Ram need good infrastructure — roads, schools, dispensaries, bore wells for drinking water and electricity — to move to the new sites.

Project director Som Shekhar, however, is positive. "We have been successful in convincing the villagers to shift to a better place with good infrastructure. We are keeping everything transparent which has been appreciated by the villagers," he said.

Villagers at Kankwadi are reconciling themselves to the fact that they have to shift from the sanctuary. Bhanli Ram, a farmer, revealed that barring a few villagers — who had land in nearby villages — the rest would move to the new areas. “But the areas have to be developed by the government before shifting us,” he said.

Rajpal Singh Shekahwat, a member of the state empowered committee, which formed the relocation plan, has apprised the Tiger Authority of India, about the expectations of the villagers.

Email: kstomar@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 02:49 IST