DEPRIVED TRIBALS OF NAGAPURAHEADI Tribal displacements under the garb of conserving the nature have become a hoax

In the remote village of Nagapuraheadi, tribal life still continues to flounder. Surrounded by dense forests of Nagarhole, the dominance of Jenu Kuruba tribe has embraced to depict a dispossessed reality with the indigenous people being deprived and treated appallingly.

"It has almost been 15 years since we have been forced to leave the forests", says Puneet, a displaced tribal who now works as a porter and cultivator.

Close to 30 households accommodating more than 150 people live in Nagapauraheadi 6 where they struggle hard to make their ends meet.

The innocent souls striving towards a better future

The income disparity:

Struggling to make the ends meet

Living on the edge of the Nagarhole National Park, the Jenu kuruba tribals are forbidden to enter the forests they had been living in harmony for centuries. Having become poorer than they were before, the restricted access of the tribals to the forests has led to a steep decline in the revenues of the honey hunters.

As Rajesh (45) continues to compare the livelihood security they had in the forests to that of the present day, he says, "Being at the forest gave us the opportunity to make income by selling honey, amla, shikhakai etc. Presently in an absence of adequate employment opportunities, the people have resorted to porter work and during three months of the year, they work at the coffee plantations, he added".

Improper conditions to sustain survival:

Sustaining livelihood with five acres of land that had been allotted by the government to each tribal household while moving them out of the forest, the government failed to initiate policies that would make them self sufficient unlike their present state of dependency where they have to hibernate to different places in order to make a living.

With the people of Nagapuraheadi 6 living in extreme conditions of impoverishment, Gauramma, a 65-year-old tribal woman reveals, "Despite being forced to move out of the forest, the government has not sought to provide the ethnic groups with proper sanitation facilities".

According to Puriya, an-18-year-old homemaker, "Open defecation has been on a surge since the people are unaware about the schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc".

Trying to sustain with the limited resources!

"The problems pertaining to water supply have also added to the misery of the people", reports JK Mani, the head of the village panchayat of Nagapuraheadi. He further reveals, 'Getting water in the forest was much easier in comparison to the tediousness that now follows”.

In the contemporary understanding of forests, the government seems to have sounded a death knell for the tribal population in order to create the protected areas and conservation parks.

Declining pasture for the cattle:

Within the limited resources that the tribals have in order to make a living, the rearing of the cattle has also become a burdensome task due to the non availability of pasture which questions the security of the tribal posterity.

The fate of the tribals hangs between imbalances and compromises. With the indigenous people being aggressively banished from their forest land, the rights of the displaced communities are not only side tracked but also fail to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship that the tribals share with nature by protecting it in innumerable ways.

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