Sambalpur: About 80 people from 42 families from a village nestled in Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha have been relocated to reduce human-animal conflict and provide them with basic amenities, officials said.
The villagers were moved to a location outside the forest area of the reserve, they said.
Residents of Lambipali village, Bargarh district, lived in a pitiful state with no good road connectivity, no clean water and no health facilities, as they stayed away from other human settlements, said Anshu Das, forestry officer of Hirakud Wildlife Division.
They were unable to undertake cultivation due to the high density of wildlife in Debrigarh, forcing villagers to migrate in search of livelihoods. The rural hamlet was established in the forest area of the reserve in 1908.
The wildlife division conducted a series of community mobilization programs in August to raise awareness of the government’s policy on resettlement and compensation, Das said.
“The villagers expressed their will in a recent gram sabha, and after that, a survey was carried out in September. About 80 people from 42 families were deemed eligible for relocation and received a lump sum of Rs 15-lakh, ”she said.
The villagers, under the supervision of the forestry department and the district administration, participated in the establishment of a relocation settlement and were transferred there on December 17, the official said.
“They will build their pucca houses on land already allocated to them, and with the help of the administration, all the facilities will be provided to them within a year.
The shrine, which spans the Sambalpur and Bargarh districts, is located on the shore of the Hirakud Reservoir.
The process is underway to relocate people living in three other hamlets inside the sanctuary.
“These human settlements are located deep in the forest and the people who live there are also deprived of all basic facilities. Relocating villagers will help reduce human-animal conflict and restore habitat for wildlife, ”said another forestry official.
Spread over 347 square kilometers, Debrigarh Sanctuary is known for the four-horned antelope or chousingha, Indian bison, wild boars, sambar, and spotted deer and leopard. It attracts a large number of migratory birds in winter.