Sariska Tiger Reserver and contentious relocation plan, Rajasthan, India

The pastoralist communities of Sariska are struggling against the 'voluntary relocation plan' launched by the government to save the tiger. The communities are asking for the recognition of the Forest Rights Act and better compensation measures.


In 2005 the Sariska Tiger Reserve was declared having 'No tigers' which was gruesome news of the failure of project tiger after the expenditure of a huge exchequer throughout 50 years of conservation efforts; the authorities put the blame on the traditional forest-dwelling communities, framing them as helpers and associates of poachers. 

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Basic Data
Name Sariska Tiger Reserver and contentious relocation plan, Rajasthan, India
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific CommoditiesLand
Ecosystem Services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Sariska Tiger Reserve is situated in the Alwar district of Rajasthan state in India. After independence the 456 sq. Km. forest area of Sariska was declared as a wildlife Reserve on 7th November 1955 under the Rajasthan Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act, 1951. At that time no human settlement was displaced from the area. Later on the status of the area upgraded to Wildlife Sanctuary Km on18 September, 1958 under the section 5 of the Wild Animals and Birds Protection act, 1951. The status of WLS was again ratified under section 66(4) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In 1978 the Sariska forest was notified as India’s 11th Tiger reserve encompassing the area of 866 sq. km under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Thereafter on 27th August 1982 400.14 sq. Km area of the reserve was notified as National Park under section 35 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Throughout the years its limits have been expanded and on 28th December 2007 a size equal to 88,111 sq km was notified as a core area of the STR; while the buffer area of the Sariska Tiger Reserve covers 24,572 ha forest land and 8,650 ha of revenue land. Since historical past, there are 175 villages situated in the tiger reserve and more than 200 villages surround it from the outside.
Project Area (in hectares)121,300
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population3,000
Start Date01/01/2008
Relevant government actorsNational Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

Rajasthan Forest Department
International and Financial InstitutionsWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) from Switzerland
The World Bank
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKRAPAVIS (Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Social movements
Gujjars, Meenas traditional groups
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesThe locals are asking for the recognition of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), and the recognition of co-existence within the Forest Reserved area instead of a relocation package as measure to protect the environment.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The people continue to feel the pressure of relocation. Their demands for better compensation have not been heard yet, and protest continue to arise fro the Tiger Reserve.
Sources and Materials

The Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act, 2006
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Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), Amendment 2006
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NTCA Guidelines for Relocation from Critical Tiger Habitat
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The Indian Forest Act, 1927
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[1] Viren Lobo (2016) 'Deliberate Deprivation of Forest Resource Rights and Forced Eviction of Indigenous Communities Violation of FRA, 2006 in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar, Rajasthan', a Report by Institute for Ecology and Livelihood Action and Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan(KRAPAVIS)
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[6] Purva Jain, Haroon Sajjad, 'Household dependency on forest resources in the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR), India: Implications for management', Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 30 Nov. 2015
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[9] Ghazala Shahabuddin et al., 2007. Creation of Inviolate Space: lives, livelihood and conflict in Sariska Tiger Reserve. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 42, No. 20 (May 19-25, 2007), pp. 1855-1862
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[9] Times of India 'Rajasthan government mulls to hike compensation for shifting villages from tiger reserve' Author: Joychen Joseph, April 15, 2018
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[3] ZeeNews, 'Sariska villages protest relocation', May 16, 2012
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[8] Times of India, 'No progress in relocation of villages in core, buffer areas of Sariska Tiger Reserve', Author: Rajendra Sharma, May 21, 2018
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[7] Times of India 'Villagers intensify stir, stop tourists from entering Sariska Tiger Reserve', May 24. 2018
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[4] Times of India, 'Sariska villages block tourist entry ', Author: Rajendra Sharma, March 1, 2013
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[2] BBC (2012) 'India village in Rajasthan to relocate to protect tiger'.
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Other Documents

Letter from Sariska forest dwellers to MoEF Letter to Jual Oram Tribal Minister on violations of the provisions of FRA in relation to forest dwellers of Sariska (10/05/2017).
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Pastoralist communities of Sariska
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Village Umari in Sariska This village has now been relocated
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Meta Information
ContributorEleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB)
Last update24/03/2019