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Thread: Villagers vs. Foresters: The Battle Rages On

  1. #1
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    Bangalore, India
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    Default Villagers vs. Foresters: The Battle Rages On

    All of us have read of the innumerable instances of issues btwn the foresters and villagers. As recently as the last two months, I have seen two incidents and read abt one. The first two took place in Karnataka (Bandipur, Sulthan Batheri ranges) where about 100 elephants following their migratory route, descended upon paddy fields. Instead of working on a solution to get the pachyderms back into the forests, the villagers attacked the foresters, trying to prevent them from pushing these animals back, as the longer the animals remained in the cultivated lands, the more their chances of earning compensation from man-animal conflict.
    The other instance recorded took place in Wan Wildlife Sanctuary when foresters were attacked whilst they tried to stop villagers from cutting down trees inside the protected area.
    Is this battle a battle that can be won? Or not? One one hand we have the shining example of Nagarahole where wildlife conservationists fought long and hard to reduce the rates of encroachment and felling, and on the other hand we have a law that states that any reserve forest land can at any time be deemed 'cultivable'...
    The Forest Department has to abide by the laws that the Government makes, but we need to understand that they too need our help to raise their voices...

  2. #2
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    New Delhi
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    I agree with you. Most of the times, people tend to blame the forest department. This is a part of a larger malaise afflicting us - we tend to blame the Govt. for anything and everything without taking any action ourselves.

    The forest department too has got its constraints. The blame game doesn't help anyone. We need to strengthen them.

    I have come across some very unfortunate situations in various sanctuaries and protected areas where honest forresters and rangers have been manhandled. In most of the cases, the field force is not equipped to tackle mob or organised gangs. Despite that, if someone stands up to face it, then hats off him.

    We should take up issues and support individuals and strengthen their hand.

    The villagers response to the elephants in the paddy fields is most unfortunate. So is the response in the tree felling incident. I am trying to gather more information about these incidents.


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