Move to shift Dhangars makes headway




The forest department has started the spadework to identify families living in the dense forests of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary so as to rehabilitate them to some other places.

The move comes in the heels of the sensational killings of four tigers in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary near Golavali village of Sattari taluka. Flabbergasted by the tiger killings, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had announced that the government would explore possibilities of relocating the families, including Dhangar community members, living in the forest areas with their livestock.

A senior forest official told ‘The Navhind Times’ on Tuesday that the deputy conservator of forest has been asked to begin identifying the families living within the wildlife sanctuary.

“As part of rehabilitation policy, the department has designated the deputy conservator of forest for identifying the villages and the families living in the forest areas…,” he added.

The official said that a team led by the DCF will indentify the families and collect their details on

occupation, livestock and land ownership.

“Once such families are identified and data is collected then the government will identify the land for their rehabilitation,” he explained.

A rough estimate of the forest department says that some 14 families, mostly Dhangars, live in the wildlife sanctuary.

The Dhangars are totally dependent on dairy farming, which has been their traditional occupation for generations. They have cattle including cows and water buffaloes, and they herd them to the forests for grazing.

While rehabilitating the families, the government will have to ensure that besides providing housing and other facilities the provision of grazing land for the cattle will have to be made.