View Full Version : Tribal Relocation in Similipal - A Positive Step

Ranbir Mahapatra
17-08-2009, 02:55 PM
Sharing a positive news on tribal relocation from core area of Similipal Tiger Reserve. Thanks Sabyasachi.


223 tribal families to be shifted from Similipal Tiger Reserve core area

As many as 223 families residing in the core area of the critical tiger habitat' inside the Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Orissa’s tribal dominated Mayurbhanj district will be shifted outside the sanctuary, officials said on Thursday.

STR sources said these families were residing in the six core area villages namely Jenabil, Bakua, Kabatghai, Jamuna and Khadia settlement (I) and Khadia Settlement (II) under Upper-Barha-Kamuda Range of Simlipal.

The oustees will be relocated in the places of their choice and according to the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), STR sources said.

The decision was taken at the Second Rehabilitation and Periphery Development Advisory Committee meeting held here under the chairmanship of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Central Division Ashok Meena.

The STR and the forest department were represented by STR Field Director cum Conservator of Forest HS Upadhaya, Deputy Director Manoj V Nair and three DFOs from Rairangpur, Karanjia and Baripada.

While the displaced families have opted for their relocation at Amdiha and Kapand model housing colonies, oustees from other villages have sought their relocation at Arjunvilla near Manda forest range, sources said.

Meanwhile, an allocation of Rs ten lakh for each displaced family has been received for their resettlement and rehabilitation ensuring all basic amenities at the places of their relocation outside the Sanctuary.

Sabyasachi Patra
20-08-2009, 06:26 PM
This is a positive news. The previous Resetlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) policy had lots of ambiguities and was not good enough. I think the new policy should result in faster relocations.

I wish the Tiger Reserve can be made secure from the Maoists, poachers, wood cutters soon, else there may not be any forests or wildlife left in the area.

Bibhav Behera
20-08-2009, 07:16 PM
I agree that it is a good move and a ray of light for STR. But at the same time i would also like to point out that the process to relocate had started early in the 1980s and it is only now 25 odd years later that anything substantial has happened in this domain. Don't mean to sound pessimistic but Similipal has been a place really close to my heart but over the years things have gone from good-->bad-->worse-->almost beyond recovery... The maoist infiltration has struck fear in every heart daring to enter the forests (hope poachers are included in that population)... The communication links have been destroyed... Wonder if the relocation of these families would be taken as an offensive by the Maoists... The government needs to be prepared for any kind of retaliation in this regard. But I ponder how much they can do with people fearing to even step into the forests...

Aditya Panda
27-08-2009, 04:01 PM
So it is finally happening! This is fantastic news... we must ensure that this momentum is carried on and R&R in other Tiger Reserves of the state is also pursued aggressively.

Half the problem of maoists, poachers, woodcutters, etc. is solved here itself by simply removing the source of these problems- people inside reserves.


Aditya Panda
14-03-2010, 09:30 PM
Hello everyone,

In between my random disappearances and most unexpected appearances (:P), here's a piece of good news:

News has come in that the largest village in the core area of Similipal Tiger Reserve, Jenabil, shifted out of the reserve voluntarily on 9th March 2010.

61 families shifted out from Jenabil in Similipal's core area to the 'model village' created for them at Ambdiha, outside the reserve. Keeping with the NTCA's guidelines, every male over the age of 18 was considered a single family unit and was compensated with Rs. 10 lakhs, apart from being provided accommodation, land, access to health facilities, education (the Forest Dept. itself has admitted 33 kids into school), and above all, a better life- far from conflict with wildlife and one that is part of the fast developing India you and I enjoy the benefits of. Hopefully, the three remaining villages and two remaining Khadia hamlets in the core, and perhaps even the villages in buffer, will want to move out of this remote wilderness and get themselves a new lease of life.

Meanwhile, it certainly is a brand new lease of life for Similipal's wildlife! The huge valley which Jenabil had encroached upon will soon heal back into perhaps Similipal's most expansive meadow and chital, sambar, gaur and other herbivores will thrive there. The magnificent congregations of elephants and unbelievably large herds of sambar deer that one saw in meadows like Devasthali and Upper Barhakamuda, especially prior to the March '09 attacks on the reserve, will hopefully be back. Needless to say, Jenabil will soon turn into prime real estate for Similipal's tigers!

The credit of this achievement goes out almost entirely to the strong dedication of Similipal's field staff. The leadership of a determined Field Director, HS Upadhyay, his ex-deputy, Manoj Nair, and their insufficient, ill-equipped, underpaid, overworked, unsung yet, terrifically motivated team of staff, like range officers Prabir Palei (RBS-Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award, 2009), B Mohanty and the other foresters, guards, etc. have been instrumental in getting Similipal back on its feet, despite unbelievable odds and a genuine threat to their life from left wing extremists. The district collector and SP must also be credited for facilitating the entire process and providing the necessary security as the staff rebuild damage infrastructure, re-occupy beat houses and get back to patrolling.

This is the sort of dedication we need to protect India's wildernesses. Similipal has been brought back from what was surely a death knell. Our fears, a year ago to date, that Similipal might be lost like Indravati or Palamau have thankfully been proven wrong. One hopes and prays that those reserves too unergo such revival.

I, for one, can't wait to get back into Similipal! Will do so at the earliest and bring you a first hand report.


Here's an image of the charred remains of the century old double storied FRH cum Deputy Director's camp office at Jenabil, Similipal Tiger Reserve

Mayank Kohli
15-03-2010, 11:16 PM
Hey Aditya!

That is great news! We all hope that every piece of precious forest
is restored to its glory.

As a favor, I would like to request you to check on the relocated villagers now and a few months from now and confirm the success of the relocation and timely fulfillment of promises and maybe document their views.
( I ask this as I know Aditya and Wild Orissa are actively involved in making locals in various parts of Orissa stakeholders in eco-tourism and conservation)

To be effective and replicable in other parts of the country such voluntary relocation has to be popularized and be highly visible and hence it must be ensured that the govt is on track to keep its promises and that the villagers are a happier bunch.

Looking forward to hearing some more good news about the villagers and to some wondrous tales from Simlipal. :thumbup1:


Aditya Panda
16-03-2010, 12:32 AM
Hi Mayank,

That's no 'favour' to ask for my friend :-). Rest assured that we will be closely following the progress of this relocation and the sincerity of its implementation.

A lot is at stake on this particular relocation. The previous relocations carried out in Similipal, viz. 1998, 1992, etc. were certainly not model acts and effectively brought to naught all following attempts at relocating villages, until now.

We are heavily banking on Jenabil's relocation hoping that the other villages too will see sense in following Jenabil's act and vacate the reserve.


Lakshminarayanan Nataraja
19-03-2010, 02:30 PM

I find this news a good one certainly. Having the tiger area volatile is important. But, with relocation alone, will the tiger area be volatile ?

Conservation community is constantly weaning off the tribal communities from the forest lands. With their movement outside, we loose the invaluable jungle craft and knowledge that they have inherited for generations.

The current generation of forest managers starting from field director till the guard are all physically unfit for forest life (with few exceptions). Who in days to come will walk in the forest ? With firearms and modern gadgets such as GPS poachers are entering at will in to forests and unmanned forests are literal cakewalk for them. SO, WE SHOULD NOT BE IN DELUSION, THAT OUR FORESTS ARE SAFE IF TRIBALS ARE RELOCATED. IN MANY AREAS IT IS ACTUALLY OTHERWISE.

Insteading of hunting for manpower from outside communities for forestry operations, it is advisable to recruit the tribals many of whom already know forests like their back of their palm...

Government had failed miserably in so many resettlement schemes and poor people have lost all their trust on the ruling body. NGOs should also definitely audit without bias as to whether the resettled tribals are suitably compensated. They also should be properly directed as in "outside world", "survival" is truly not easy.

Sabyasachi Patra
19-03-2010, 04:26 PM
When we look at the double and triple storied concrete structures inside the forest, we realise that the word tribal doesn't necessarily portray the actual meaning. However, the approach should be holistic and the tribals should be used by the forest department, provided the tribals are willing. It would be a good idea to use these tribals as forest guards. Considering that most of the forests have shortage of staff, one should use

10 lakh rupees for each adult member of the family is certainly a big sum. I am sure, the scheme would succeed.


Sabyasachi Patra
03-05-2010, 09:34 PM
Dear All,
Here is some good news from Similipal. Sharing the news article that appeared in NDTV.


Away from the forest home
NDTV Correspondent, Saturday May 1, 2010, Simlipal

Here is a story of successful relocation at the Simlipal reserve in Orissa. Today we look at how many families here are living comfortably after they were moved out to make way for the tiger.

Adivasis from Jenabil valley in Orissa's Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in a bank for the first time in their lives to receive a part of Rs 10 lakhs that the National Tiger Conservation Authority has promised each of the 61 families, who have vacated their forest home.

Although their rehabilitation from the core area of the park was on the cards for years, no serious attempt was made until a new director took over last August.

"That itself shows that things could have been done much earlier and we could have got back all those valleys for wildlife much earlier. In fact Jenabil would get back its former glory. We expect it to become a meadow, which will be frequented by herbivores and tigers naturally," says Biswajit Mohanty, member, National Board for Wildlife.

For the displaced people who have never lived outside the forests, it's the beginning of a new life. Their children can finally go to school.

"The government promised us Rs 10 lakhs and land. They have said they will give us Rs 1 lakh to build a house and the rest Rs 9 lakh will be in the form of fixed deposits. If our rehabilitation is proper, then others will also leave Simlipal," says Ganga, displaced Jenabil villager.

There are still three more villages in the tiger core area that need to be evacuated. Thanks to the good package people are willing to reconsider their views.

"We will take all care to train them in agriculture, horticulture and all those things. It's no longer the job of the Forest Department of the Simlipal Tiger Reserve, the whole of district administration has adopted it," says HS Upadhyay, director, STR.

Reducing human interference is key to increasing tiger numbers. The successful rehabilitation of the people of Jenabil will go a long way in bringing the big cat back to these meadows.

The source article can be found here: