The government has identified 296 hectares of land plans to build a wildlife corridor for elephants over four districts in the state of Jharkhand. Catholic Bishops have joined indigenous people in the state to oppose this planned corridor for wildlife as it threatens to displace thousands of people in 214 villages. His Excellency Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega highlights this plan of the government as a difficult one for people to understand because on one hand the government claims to be acting to protect the forest and tribal people, but on the other hand it moves to displace them.
As reported by ucanindia.in, His Grace Bishop Barwa, who heads the Indian Bishops’ office for indigenous people, remarked that “The Bishops view the plan for the corridor as the latest in a series of moves the pro-Hindu government has made to marginalize tribal people and take over their lands on behalf of industrial companies.” Further, His Excellency added, “The government plans to evict people from areas marked as a three-kilometer-wide elephant corridor and the work has started and officials are now issuing notices to people to move away, but we don’t know where they should go, the government has not given them any alternative and we cannot understand how an elected government can act in such a manner.”
Bishop Barwa also emphasized that the tribal people for generations have lived depending on the forest and are not skilled to live outside and besides, people earlier displaced for several development projects have not yet been compensated as promised.