Gives us RTC, demand tribals

After a six-year-long wait, the residents of Shettahalli-Lakkapattana Tribal Rehabilitation Haadi of Hunsur taluk demanded the government to provide RTC for the land which was allotted under the Central Rehabilitation Scheme during 2009-10, abiding with transforming the forest as national park thus ensuring the strict implementation of the Wildlife Act.

Expressing helplessness with City Today here on Monday, a 54-year-old tribal woman Maare, a resident of Shettahalli Haadi, said: “I am utterly confused. I want to know if the three acres of land allotted to me would be transferred to my son or not following my death. If only the government provided RTC sooner, it would be helpful to register the land in my son’s name. I want to do this before my death.”

Nearly 150 families from various tribal hamlets located in Nagarahole National Park, Dalimbe Kolyadi, Moodakallu, H D Kote, Bogapura and Malanda were relocated from the forest to rehabilitation camp in 2009 with the assurance of being provided with alternative occupation, land with basic facilities.

Supervising the process of relocation, the forest department assured that they would provide the RTC as soon as they settled in Shettahalli-Lakkapattana Tribal Rehabilitation camp.

Speaking with mediapersons, Rajappa, a resident of Shettahalli tribal rehabilitation camp, said, “We have been requesting the Deputy Commissioner and the forest authority from past six to grant us RTC. But to no avail.”

Explaining the issues the tribal communities were facing, he said: “In the absence of RTC, we are unable to get loan from the banks to conduct agriculture activities. Besides, we are facing water scarcity due to failing rainfall from the past two years. We raised the issue with the Deputy Commissioner seeking job-oriented training. Unfortunately, none of our requests have borne any results.”

As part of rehabilitation process in 2009, the government had allotted 450 acres of land in Shettahalli haadi to150 families. Each family got three acres of land each where they could take up cultivation.

The residents of ShettAhalli-Lakkapattana Tribal Rehabilitation Haadi said that they were also told that each of the families would be provided Rs 10 lakh if they agreed to relocate to the rehabilitation camp. Of the Rs 10 lak assured, Rs 68,000 was deducted towards the three-acre land, Rs three lakh was deposited in fixed deposit. The remaining amount was spent on water service and towards constructing the house.

The residents further noted that that the state government had granted RTC to similar tribal camps in Nagapura of Nagarahole and demanded the same.

Residents including Puttamma, 45, Maare, 54, Kariya, 56, Vishakanta, 58 and others were present during the press meet.

“For survival, we started growing commercial crops joining hands with ginger growers from Kerala. Based on mutual consent, the ginger growers drilled bore-well in our land and we started cultivating ginger from the past four months. However, off late the RFO served notice objecting to cultivation of ginger and instructed us to seek permission from the DC’s office to cultivate in the forest land. Indeed, from past six years, I believed this land which was allotted under the Central Rehabilitation Scheme in 2009 belonged to us and not to the forest department. However, we do not have any documents to prove that the land belonged to us. The government has to realise the ground reality and allow us to cultivate crops and also give us our RTC,” said Rajappa, a resident of Shettahalli tribal rehabilitation camp.

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