Mer village not to cede community land for elephant corridor project (State
of Arunachal Pradesh, India)
The Arunachal Times
May 4, 2021
PASIGHAT: The people of Mer village in Mebo subdivision of East Siang
district have resolved not to cede “even an inch of community land for
plantation purposes” for the D Ering-Dibru Saikhowa Elephant Corridor
Project (DE-DSECP) of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which was in the
process of being executed in Kotga area of Mer village by the divisional
forest officer (T) of the Pasighat forest division.
The villagers are strongly opposed to the elephant corridor project of the
WTI, which was being executed by the Pasighat forest division’s DFO (T) on
the village’s community land.
As per claims made by the villagers, the Pasighat forest division willfully
proposed a total of 1,000 hectares of village community land for the
project, without the knowledge and consent of the community.
The villagers are reportedly angry with the forest department, led by
Pasighat Forest Division DFO (T) Tashi Mize, for allegedly “trying to grab
the village community land near Kotga area of the village,” adjacent to D
Ering wildlife sanctuary, “taking only six persons from Mer village in the
name of community and fixing a deal with them of monetary benefits out of
Those six persons were made members of a recently formed NGO named Kotga
Gora Community Conserve Reserve (KGCCR), which reportedly comprises only
six to seven persons as members from Mer, Namsing and Paglam villages.
The Pasighat forest division is allegedly carrying out the project by
forming and using the KGCCR and excluding the community people of Mer,
Namsing and Paglam villages while declaring the Kotga area of Mer village
as a community conserved area (CCA).
The villagers had written to the Pasighat forest division DFO, the PCCF and
the environment & forests and climate change principal secretary, and urged
them to stop the project.
The youths and panchayat members of the village had also appealed to the
environment & forests minister through two petitions on 20 and 25 April to
direct the PCCF (HoFF) to stop the project.
Meanwhile, the villagers of Mer invited the D Ering Wildlife Sanctuary
(DEWS) DFO to a village meeting held on 29 April in the village community
hall, where the DFO was requested to hear the grievances of the villagers
and forward their voice to the higher officials in Itanagar and the WTI
office in Noida.
At their request, DEWS DFO Tasang Taga along with Range Officers Domek
Koyu, Orin Perme and others explained to the villagers about the project
and its objective.
Taga said that the elephant corridor project was officially proposed and
initiated by the DEWS division in August 2016 (vide office Memo No
DMS/DEV/44/06/435, dated 27/08/2016), when the present DFO (T) Tashi Mize
was the DFO (WL).
He clarified to the villagers that the project is not being carried out by
the DEWS division and is actually being executed by the DFO (T), Pasighat
forest division, although the project was proposed by the DEWS division.
The DEWS DFO also said that the basic purpose of the project was to
“involve the community in creating plantations and also to maintain the
forest coverage of the village for smooth passage of elephants in the
buffer zone of the DEWS.”
On the allegations of wrong execution of important projects, he said that
“entire communities turning hostile against the project and forest
department is also likely to hamper the larger and smooth wildlife
conservation effort of management of D Ering WL Sanctuary, which is a
It is important to add here that a village meeting was again conducted in
the Mer village community hall last Saturday, at the request of KGCCR
members, in connection with the denial of community land for the project.
However, the village community vehemently refused to give any land for the