Belthangady, Sep 17: When the Union government passed the Forest Rights Act on December 18, 2006, these people living in the habitations inside the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district felt that their longstanding woes were over.
The villagers, especially the tribals, have been living inside the forest for centuries and want to continue to be there. They want motorable roads, electricity, and basic needs which would help them lead a simple life.
But 14 years down the lane nothing has changed but instead in some places have become worse. Though the government stresses on education, villagers here are left confused. To reach schools, children have to walk long distance amidst thick forest filled with wildlife. With no power supply, they find it difficult to learn at home.
As there is no proper roads, villagers find it difficult to reach hospitals when they have health emergencies. In many places the patient has to be carried literally through the narrow paths and streams. The list of the problem continues to increase.
Activists blame officials for showing negligence in implementing the Forest Rights Act.
The Karnataka Adivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samithi met Puttur Assistant Commissioner and submitted a memorandum to solve the problem of the forest dwellers at the earliest.
The team lead by Belthangady Taluk Samithi president Vasanth Nada, General Secretary Jayanand Pilikal, and Convener Shekhar L gave the details of the problem of the forest dwellers.
“Nine villages of Belthangady come under Kudremukh National Park. Except for electrification of 9 houses in Nada and Savanal villages of Belthangady Taluk, nothing has been done in any of these villages in the last 14 years since the Act was passed,” activist Shekhar Laila told The Canara Post after meeting the AC.
The activists told the Assistant Commissioner that despite 74 years of independence the people living in the forest are forced to live in darkness and without basic facilities. They demanded strict action against these officials who neglect the forest dwellers and also provide all the facilities under the Forest Rights Act has to the people.
“The Assistant Commissioner assured to hold a meeting in connection to the Forest Rights Act in Belthangady on October 6. He also assured to take action against those officials who fail to enforce the decisions taken in the meeting,” Shekhar added.