Karbi Anglong, Assam, October 1, 2017: Over a year ago the residents of Ram Terang, a hamlet in the tribal Karbi Anglong Hills in Assam, made a massive sacrifice in support of wildlife conservation: all 19 families in the village voluntarily shifted out of their homes so that the Kalapahar-Daigrung Elephant Corridor – a vital habitat link between Kaziranga National Park and the Nambor-Daigrung Wildlife Sanctuary – could be secured. The process of voluntary relocation, conducted with assistance from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), UK-based NGO Elephant Family, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN-NL), the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and the Assam Forest Department, was completed in March 2016.
Each of the families was given 0.35 acres of settlement land and 1.33 acres of agricultural land (apart from newly constructed homes and livelihood support), and New Ram Terang was established a few kilometres uphill from the previous habitation. Last month, the families received patta documents – legal documents of ownership issued by the government – for the settlement land.
On September 1, Mr Horensing Bey, Chairman of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council visited New Ram Terang and announced the order declaring each of the 19 families legal owners of the settlement land provided to them by WTI and Elephant Family. Mr Bibison Tokbi, Range Officer – Silonijan, Mr Timothy Keenan and Mr Hugh Lonsdale of Elephant Family, and WTI team members were also present on the occasion.
The patta documents for the land were given to the families in a small event held at the village on September 18. Mr Sarthe Tisso, Beat Officer – Chokihola, Mr Dilip Deori, Manager and Project lead of the Karbi Anglong Conservation Project (run by WTI with the assistance of Elephant Family, IUCN-NL, the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund, KAAC, and the Assam Forest Department) and other WTI team members formally handed over the documents to each of the families.
ALSO SEE: The Ram Terang Story in Pictures: The Village That Moved