ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Development Dilemma

The growth-led paradigm of development has resulted in global ecological imbalances, increased inter- and intra-country socio-economic inequalities, displacement, marginalisation and cultural uprooting of a large number of native people. The ecologycentred model emerged in answer, and emphasised the creation of more national parks and sanctuaries. Ironically, this also led to the displacement of a large number of native people and their further marginalisation and sufferings in social, economic and cultural terms. This paper discusses the case of displacement and resettlement of the 'maldharis' of the Gir forest in Gujarat, who were displaced and resettled in 1970s and 1980s as a result of creation of a sanctuary and later a national park in the Gir forest. The state government policy of resettlement had a negative view of the maldharis, and was neither well-conceived nor implemented systematically. At present, there is an eco-development project in the Gir protected area sponsored by the World Bank, which does not approve of forced relocation and provides for voluntary relocation in a participatory way. Accordingly, the state government stance has changed, but on an experimental basis and only for this one project.

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