Smt. Droupadi Murmu,
Governor of Jharkhand,
Ranchi – 834001.
Subject: Requesting for withdrawal of the proposed Wildlife Corridors Project by the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Govt. of Jharkhand) in the Fifth Schedule Areas of Jharkhand.
This is to bring your kind attention on the matter of the proposed ‘Wildlife Corridor’ project by the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Government of Jharkhand) in the conservation plan of the Palamu Tiger Reserve for the financial years 2013-14 to 2022-23. The conservation plan of the Palamu Tiger Reserve has been prepared and submitted to the state government by Mr. Arun Singh Rawat (IFS), the Chief Conservator of forest & Field Director of Palamu Tiger Reserve, Daltonganj, Palamu, Jharkhand.
The state government has already approved the plan. The forest department has issued notice to the villagers living in the vicinity of Palamu Tiger Reserve to vacate their villages, which has created fear, insecurity and uncertainty in the minds of villagers. If the proposed plan is implemented in the region, there will be adverse affect of the villagers mostly the Adivasis (scheduled tribes) as 595,274.25 acres (see table – 1) of land will be acquired and 870 villages of 9 districts of Jharkhand will be vacated for the wildlife corridors, where approximately 1 million people will be displaced and affected. The state government of Jharkhand has neither carried out any consultative processes nor has it taken free, prior and informed consent of the communities while making such a devastative plan in the name of wildlife conservation.
This is a gross violation of the Provisions of Panchayat (Extension) in Scheduled Area Act 1996, which recognizes the self determination of the Adivasis (scheduled tribes) and empowers the Gram Sabha (village council) to manage the natural resources. This is also the violation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of ‘Odisha Mining Corporation vs Ministry of Forest and Environment and others (c) No. 180 of 2011, which clearly states that the Gram Sabha is the owner of the natural resources, therefore, the consent of the Gram Sabha must be taken before making any such plan for the region. This is also a clear violation of the Forest Rights Act 2006, which recognizes the individual and community rights over the forest and forest land.
Table 1 : Proposed Wildlife Corridors
|Sl. No.||Name of the Wildlife Corridors||Covering Districts||Number of affected villages||Area of land
|1.||Sirsi-Palkot-Saranda WLC||Latehar, Gumla, Simdega and West Singhbhum||214||1,87,733.31|
|2.||Kumandih-Patki-Lawalong WLC||Latehar, Palamu and Chatra||47||34,559.32|
|2a.||Lawalong-Tutilawa-Hazaribagh WLS||Chatra, Hazaribagh and Bokaro||151||91,680.81|
|2b.||Lawalong-Gautam Bhddha WLS||Chatra, Hazaribagh and Kodarma||243||1,32,492.54|
|2c.||Lawalong-Manatu-Patan-Kaimur WLC||Chatra and Palamu||83||43,798.90|
|3.||Kutku-Salwahi-Nagar Utari-Kaimur WLC||Palamu and Garhwa||132||1,05,009.37|
Source: Conservation plan of the Palamu Tiger Reserve 2013-14 to 2022-23
Since you are the custodial of the Fifth Scheduled areas of Jharkhand under the Indian Constitution, and you are also empowered with the special rights given in the Para fifth of the Fifth Schedule, hence, you can dismiss the proposed ‘Wildlife Corridor Project’ in the Fifth Schedule area merely by issuing a public notification.
Therefore, I humbly request you to order the Government of Jharkhand for withdrawal of the proposed ‘Wildlife Corridors’ project, which has created immense pressure in the lives of the Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) and other forest dwellers communities.
I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.