Forest tribes Hakki Pikkis and Iruligas of bannerghatta are not able to avail the crop loss compensation of elephant conflict. At the time of their rehabilitation in 1960s, 350 acres of land for agriculture was allotted to them.
Bengaluru March 12th : Paridhi Jain
As per the residents of the colony, last year in their village, 10 to 15 houses suffered crop losses and each house had a loss of at least Rs 10,000 to 20,000. As per the forest department, these tribes do not have documents for the allotted land. They cannot therefore apply for compensation for crops damaged by elephants in the area. Last year there were at least 1200 elephant conflict cases in Bannerghatta national park.
Ramesh HP is a resident of the colony. He says, “We suffer losses in our ragi crops due to crop damage by elephants. We filed for compensation but forest department says, show papers.”
Forest department says they cannot proceed with compensation as they lack the RTC (Record of Rights, Tenancy and crops). They had provided Rs 70 lakh compensation to the farmers in the other villages of the national park last year. In 2016, the disputed land was transferred from forest to Revenue department. In 2019, beneficiaries were identified by Revenue department but title deeds have still not been handed over.
As per the Revenue department, they had planned to give papers to 114 identified families in 2020. But Hakki Pikki committee later filed a case in court saying that there are more families. Now the case is stuck in the high court.
Madhu Bhushan is an independent writer and activist working on Hakki Pikkis since many years. She is also national award winner for the documentary on these tribes. She explains further, “Revenue department continued to delay in identifying beneficiaries. Solution is they must hand over the land immediately in name of beneficiaries. The funds should be released from Tribal welfare department or the commission for nomadic communities for their development so they can make wells or bunding in their fields.”
As pe the experts, these vulnerable communities’ rehabilitation process should be fastened immediately so they are able to benefit the most.