Notorious for poaching, Dolar village relocated from Melghat

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2018 09:22:57

Dolar village prior to its rehabilitation from Melghat Tiger Reserve


By Ramesh Marulkar,

At last, Dolar, a notorious village and considered to be a poachers’ den in the core area in Gugamal Wildlife Division of Melghat Tiger Reserve, has been completely shifted to Waghdoh on Wednesday. With this, foresters have heaved a sigh of relief as they assume decline in poaching incidents in the reserve.

The forest officials and field staff members had hard time to convince the villagers about benefits they would reap after shifted outside the core area. They used to hold meetings in Dolar regularly and finally their persistent efforts bore fruits when villagers gave their consent.

Dolar beat falls in Dhakna Forest Range where a sensational case of poaching of a tiger occurred in March 2013. A sloth-bear attacked a woman from this village on February 17, 2017. And, to take revenge, the villagers poached a pregnant sambar in July 2017. It is reliably learnt that poachers from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh used to reach this ‘den’ by a train for their further anti-social activities.

Taking advantage of the favourable situation, Vinod Shivakumar, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Gugamal Wildlife Division, Paratwada, distributed mobilisation fund of Rs one lakh to each of the 129 families through field officers in June and also deployed a vehicle to carry the household materials of the villagers to Waghdoh. M S Reddy, Chief Conservator of Forest and Field Director, Melghat Tiger Reserve, personally supervised the shifting operation.

When the pleasant news of shifting of the last family from Dolar to the new site came in on Tuesday night, Shivakumar started from Paratwada to Dolar village and reached there in the wee hours of Wednesday only to ensure that the village is vacant totally. He camped there for the whole day and gave necessary instructions to the field staff members. He sighted a flock of ten peacocks in the village, where the department would develop grassland and meadows to attract herbivores and then carnivores.

After mobilisation fund, the Forest department disbursed Rs 9 crore to the families under Option I and Rs 67 lakh to some of the land-holding villagers. The department deposited Rs 5 lakh in fixed deposit and Rs 4 lakh in savings bank account of each family. The villagers having agricultural land are being given compensation four times more than the rate fixed by the Registrar. Some of the families have to complete the formalities and then their account would be settled, said Shivakumar while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ during a visit to Parwatwada just before leaving for Dolar village.

The families are now settled in two groups in irrigation colonies at Waghdoh and Pitamba for time being. The department is acquiring 4 hectares of land in Waghdoh through the Collector, where basic amenities would be provided to the villagers. Hiralal Choudhari, Range Forest Officer, Dhakna, and his staff actively cooperated in shifting process.

Out of a total of 28 villages in Gugamal, the department has, so far, relocated Bori, Kund, Koha in 2001-2002 and then Churni and Vairat villages. Now, this Dolar village has been rehabilitated. The department is now rehabilitating Pastule village, from where around 50 per cent of the 153 families have been shifted to Yewata in Achalpur tehsil.
Shivakumar added that the department would now focus on relocation of Rora, Memna, Dhakna, Adhav, Mangia and Malur villages in phases. Nearby Akot Wildlife Division has completed shifting of all the 13 villages two months ago to make the whole division inviolate.