Dehra Dun: Even as efforts are being made for the rejuvenation of the tiger population in the country and hundreds of crores have been spent under Project Tiger, efforts are being made by the mighty and influential to encroach upon one of the premier habitats of the big cat â€“ the Corbett National Park.
According to reports, the residents of Kalkhundi and Jamun villages, which are within the premises of the national park, have shifted elsewhere because of pressure on them from the forest authorities and conservationist.
Besides, as over the years restrictions were put on their movement within the park area, as also of their cattle, the villagers were finding themselves stifled.
However, as Corbett tops on the itinerary of wild life enthusiasts in general and tiger lovers particular, with a number of VIPs frequenting the park to see the animal in the wild, it has been one of the hot spots where the powerful and mighty have tried to acquire or buy land to build farm houses or resorts.
Forest authorities here confirmed that some established people had bought about 90 bighas of land in Kalkhundi from the local villagers and 65 bighas in Jamun village. While Kalkhundi is about 20 kms within the park from the main gate, Jamun village is about 15 kms inside.
They said that the area is rich in wild life and besides the tiger there are a number of animals of the antelope family, which can be poached upon by the people who, if allowed to construct, set up shop here.
Besides, they can also be hand-in-glove with the park authorities for undertaking trips within the park area for seeing wildlife and also for clandestine hunting.
Forest authorities said that chief minister B C Khanduri had taken cognizance of reports that efforts were being made to set up resorts and farm houses within the national park area and summoned the concerned officials.
They said that had it not been for the Corbett authorities who refused permission for the construction of a road to the two places, construction work would have long started.
Meanwhile a senior official here on conditions of anonymity said that the state government or for that matter any department cannot prevent the villagers from selling their private land and stopping those who have bought the land from making constructions on it.
â€œYes, what can be prevented is the construction of a hotel or a resort, for which a licence is required, within the park area. Also construction of a road, or even metalling of the existing tracks to the two villages can be prevented as they are within the forest areaâ€, he added.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.