Indigenous man who lived on tree for two years in India given land for home

(indianfarming.in)
Updated 04 August 2017

Indigenous man who lived on tree for two years in India given land for home

MUMBAI: An indigenous man who lived in a tree house for two years after his home was damaged in a south Indian forest, has been given a plot of land, an official said, in a case that highlights the slow progress in recognising the rights of forest dwellers.
Gajja, who belongs to a tribal community in the southern state of Karnataka, has lived on a platform he built on a mango tree in the forest to keep safe from elephants.
This week, following a local newspaper report about his plight, officials gave him a plot of land.
"He had already been conferred with forest rights, but he was unaware of the fact, and had continued to live on the tree," said D. Randeep, the deputy commissioner in Mysuru city.
"We have now allocated some land near that tree, so he can build a hut. If he is willing to live outside the forest, we can give him compensation and allot him a proper home," he said.
Gajja, who gathers honey and other forest products, is among millions of people who depend on forests for a living.
More than a fifth of India's 1.3 billion people were expected to benefit from the 2006 Forest Rights Act covering vast areas of forest land roughly the size of Germany.
The law gives indigenous people and forest dwellers rights to manage and govern their traditional forests and resources, individually and as a community.
But states have been slow to confer these rights, and conflicts between states and indigenous communities have risen as demand for land for industrial use increases in the fast growing economy.
Local news reports said Gajja, who only uses his first name, had been evicted and his home knocked down by forest officials.
Randeep denied Gajja had been evicted.
"He could not rebuild his home, so he chose to live on the tree," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"There are other tribal families in the area who were evicted from the forest some years ago. We are talking to forest officials about their compensation and forest rights," he said.
India is estimated to have a shortage of about 30 million homes in rural areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a 2022 target of "Housing for All".


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.