By the time you read this, Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve may have reached a flashpoint yet again. By 14 May, more than 4,000 police personnel were deployed in the area.

Rajasthan, which had prided itself on leading the way in relocation of villagers from its tiger reserves, is now facing a backlash. Villagers living inside Sariska reserve are in agitation mode and are refusing to be relocated.

Their complaint is that the `10 lakhs being offered to them by the government is completely inadequate. Gujjar leader Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla is also supporting their agitation which is also being fuelled by mine owners who operate on the boundaries of Sariska and who want to restart their mining operations.

The farmers are demanding lifting of ban on registration of land in 164 villages in the area that was imposed in 1987 and announcing forest road leading to Sariska as national highway.

"The government did not fulfill its promises which it had made to the farmers earlier. They made the national highway, a lifeline for all the villages in the area, as forest road. This time we will not make any agreement with the government unless they accept our demands," he added.

JAIPUR: The state cabinet on Wednesday approved allotment of nearly 400 hectares land near Sariska to the forest department in return for the land acquired in Jaipur for the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana meant to rehabilitate slum dwellers.

Decisions related to salaries and perks of chairperson and members of the state human rights commission, lawyers' welfare, increase in study leave for doctors and enhancing the policemen's allowances were also taken at the meeting.

JAIPUR: Following a Supreme Court directive in April this year to demarcate and notify buffer zone around the Ranthambore and Sariska tiger reserves within three months or face the heat, the state forest department has made giant progress in the matter.

According to sources in the forest department, work in this regard at both the tiger reserves is nearing completion. The final report is yet to be prepared but a meeting has been held and the areas to be demarcated as buffer zones have been identified.

As reported by the State, six tigers have been reintroduced in the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The details are at Annexure Biotic disturbance on account of cattle presence and forest resource dependency of human settlements within the core/critical tiger habitat are inimical factors for wild animals, including tiger and panther.

Sariska has refused to learn its lessons from the 2005 wipeout and is blowing its second chance. As Delhi and Jaipur watch, the reserve is losing its stripes

Jaipur: Waking up to gross violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and orders of the Supreme Court, minister for forest and environment Bina Kak on Monday ordered an immediate halt on the construction of annicuts with the use of earth-moving machinery inside the Sariska Tiger Reserve.

The forest department had embarked on a project of constructing 28 annicuts inside the reserve for providing water to animals there, especially during summer. However, the authorities seem to have missed the clearly laid laws for such work.

Agitating villagers promised a survey of land holdings

After a week-long closure, forced by an agitation by villagers living on the periphery, the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan's Alwar district has now re-opened for visitors. The stir, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union, proved yet another blow to the reserve, struggling to regain its past glory in the wake of re-introduction of tigers.

Hundreds of the farmers who were protesting against the relocation of their villages started a sit-in in front of the entrance of the gate. On Wednesday, hundreds of villagers had gathered for a mahapanchayat against the government order of not letting the farmers sell off their lands because of the ban on selling and purchasing of property nearby the reserve.