Indigenous man living on tree for two years in India gets land 

Dhaka,  Thu,  17 August 2017
Published : 05 Aug 2017, 17:27:29
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Indigenous man living on tree for two years in India gets land 

An indigenous man who lived in a tree house for two years after his home was damaged in a South Indian forest has been given a plot of land, an official said, in a case that highlights the slow progress in recognising the rights of forest dwellers, according to a global media report. Gajja, who belongs to a tribal community in the southern state of Karnataka, has lived on a platform he built on a mango tree in the forest to keep safe from elephants.

This week, following a local newspaper report about his plight, officials gave him a plot of land.

“He had already been conferred with forest rights, but he was unaware of the fact, and had continued to live on the tree,” said D Randeep, the deputy commissioner in Mysuru city.

Gajja, who gathers honey and other forest products, is among millions of people who depend on forests for a living.

More than a fifth of India’s 1.3 billion people were expected to benefit from the 2006 Forest Rights Act, covering vast areas of forest land roughly the size of Germany.

The law gives indigenous people and forest dwellers rights to manage and govern their traditional forests and resources, individually and as a community.

But states have been slow to confer these rights, and conflicts between states and indigenous communities have risen as demand for land for industrial use increases in the fast growing economy.

Local news reports said Gajja, who only uses his first name, had been evicted and his home knocked down by forest officials.

Randeep denied Gajja had been evicted.

 
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