KOLHAPUR: The forest department has over the years managed to curb human interference in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), particularly in the Chandoli National Park. Male, Kolpe, Patarpunj and Kundalapur are the only four villages with a habitation of around 150 people that still exist within the 317 sq km periphery of Chandoli.
"We are in the process to rehabilitate them. Negotiations are on and we are offering them rehabilitation packages as planned by the state government. The response so far is encouraging and we hope to make the park free of human habitatation in near future," said N Mohan Karnat, the chief conservator of forests (wildlife division), Kolhapur region.
The department, while submitting its tiger conservation plan to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), had focused its intention plan to spend around 90% of the Rs 280 crore estimated budget towards the rehabilitation of people from the protected areas.
STR divisional forest officer M M Panditrao said, "The department is taking steps for rehabilitation. There are seven villages in the Koyna region and four in Chandoli that have to be vacated. We have proposed around Rs 200 crore for the rehabilitation of these villages."
The NTCA had in October last year approved the conservation plan and the department hopes to get funds this year to resolve the problem of human habitation.
The Union ministry of environment and forests had in September 2013 approved relocation of Ravandi, Adoshi, Maldoshi, Kusapur and Khirkhindi villages from the Koyna wildlife sanctuary.
The plan to relocate Vele and Deur in Koyna areas is also on the cards.