Voluntary Relocation of Human Settlements and Habitat Consolidation

To accommodate the needs of both wildlife and conflict-prone communities, the Government of India, through the NTCA, has set up a well-funded voluntary resettlement package for households within protected areas that are willing to move out. These benefits include high quality agricultural land, access to good housing, schools and medical care.

Equipped with substantial relocation experience and critical assessment data, WCS – India Program supports voluntary settlements that are carried out equitably and justly across all its conservation sites. At present these include Nagarahole, Bhadra, Bandipur, Kudremukh, Anshi-Dandeli, Wayanad, Mudumalai and Tadoba.

While ensuring a fair and transparent relocation, WCS – India Program has been highly vigilant, facilitating a smooth and fair transition for resettled families. In 2001-2002, 457 households voluntarily moved out of  Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary thanks in large part due to WCS – India Program support and key conservation partners such as D. V. Girish. This project stands as a benchmark for fair and just resettlement program across the country, inspiring policy makers to implement many such packages across various protected areas. This has motivated the new NTCA resettlement package for all families willing to move in Indian reserves. Similarly, over 500 households in Nagarahole have been relocated over the past 10 years. To find out more: http://re.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/Making%20resettlement%20work.pdf

WCS – India Program is also involved in voluntary resettlement programs through direct land purchase. WCS – India Program supported its partner organizations Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation, Bhadra Conservation Trust and Wild Cat-C in the first of its kind privately-funded relocation project in Kudremukh National Park. The incentive-driven voluntary relocation of remotely located households in Kudremukh was based on their explicit request. This “land-purchase” project enables families surrendering the vacated lands to the government for merging with the surrounding National Park, and has been funded by WCS – India Program  as well as a UK-based charity Adventure Ashram.
Both forms of voluntary resettlement and land purchase are commendable and have been adopted and mentioned in the Indian Parliament as the model for successful voluntary resettlement.