Tripura parties stir against wildlife sanctuary

November 24th, 2008 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Nov 24 (IANS) Tribal political parties in Tripura Monday threatened to launch an agitation against the Left Front government’s move to create a wildlife sanctuary saying the decision would displace thousands of people.”More than 100,000 tribal people in three sub-divisions - Gandachara, Amarpur and Ambassa - in southern and northern Tripura would be displaced from their homes if the wildlife sanctuary is created,” said Rabindra Debbarma, general secretary of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT).

“Sub-divisional magistrates of the three sub-divisions had already issued notices to the tribal residents to submit details of their lands before the government officials,” he said.

The tribal wing of the main opposition Congress and some other smaller parties have also threatened to protest the move.

“The tribal people were earlier evicted from their homes and lands when Dambur hydel project was commissioned in south Tripura in 1974 from the three hill ranges - Atharamura, Kalazhari and Bhagaban tilla bordering Bangladesh,” Debbarma said.

Tripura forest minister Jitendra Chowdhury, however, denied any move for creation of a new wildlife sanctuary in the state.

“We are planning to create a ‘Critical Habitat Area’ for the elephants and few other endangered wild animals in southern and northern Tripura. The latest census has shown that the elephant population has gone up from 38 in 2002 to 59 now,” Chowdhury said.

Veteran tribal leader Dinesh Debbarma, also the general secretary of the Congress’ tribal wing, said: “The Left Front government is once again conspiring against the poor tribal people to evict them from their home lands.”

“The tribal wing of the Congress party would resist at any cost the Left Front government move to create the wildlife sanctuary at the cost of the lives and properties of the tribals,” he told journalists after the two day conference of the party.

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