Wednesday, Sep 22, 2004
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By Our Staff Correspondent
HASSAN, SEPT. 21. With the recent visits by official and non-official teams to the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) area, the people living there believe that the coalition Government in the State has taken steps to solve their problems.
As promised, the Government sent a team of senior officials headed by the State Development Commissioner, Chiranjeevi Singh, to the KNP area to study the problems faced by the people living there.
The promise of "no evacuation'' of those living in revenue pockets of the KNP area has been welcomed.
After visiting a few villages in the KNP area, Mr. Singh told to presspersons that there would be no forcible evacuation.
The Government did not have powers to do so and the tribal people would be provided with all basic amenities.
On a proposal seeking a package for evacuees submitted to the Union Government, he said it would be applicable only to those who moved out of the park "voluntarily''. Funds released by the Government would be utilised for the development of rural areas in the region.
He promised the people living in the park that health check-up camps would be next month. Officials would hold a public contact programme on a regular basis. The tahsildars had been directed issue pattas (title deeds) to "landowners''.
Mr. Singh promised the people that he would visit them again to help solve their problems.
Though people of the area believe that the question of rehabilitation would not arise with the Government's decision against evacuation.
However, the proposed rehabilitation package of the Government has led to an apprehension among them. They feel that the package is aimed at evacuating them from the park area.
Mr. Singh hinted that 58 tribal families would be evacuated as they were living on "controversial'' land. The officials did not include these families during the declaration of KNP limits.
While the officials claim that 1,299 families are living in revenue enclosures, the Kudremukh Rashtriya Udyana Virodhi Okkuta (KRUVO) disputes it.
The okkuta asserts that there are 3,000 families in revenue enclosures.
While the officials are clueless about the number of families living in forest enclosures, the okkuta claims that there are 58 families in Sringeri taluk alone.
However, they are eagerly waiting for the recommendations to be made by the team to the Government.
Meanwhile, four fact-finding teams headed by Nagari Babaiah of Citizens Initiative for Peace (CIP), Ramadasa Rao of People's Democratic Front, Nagaragere Ramesh, V.S. Sreedhar andGouri Lankesh, journalist, visited the KNP area recently. The teams will submit a report to the Government and urge it to implement the recommendations.
At press conference at Sringeri, Mr. Babaiah said the people had urged the Government to give up the idea of forming a national park. He demanded that pattas be given to all those living in the park area. The people of the area had demanded that action be taken to put an end to the "atrocities" on them. They had sought a promise from the Government against evacuation.
In another development, Prem, Secretary of the Karnataka State Committee CPM(L), who addressed presspersons, urged the Government to implement the charter of demands presented to it by the state committee. Disputing the claims of a few persons that People's War was "harassing'' landlords, he said there was no truth in their contention. He exhorted the Government to clear its stand on the Naxalite problem in the State.
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