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August 26, 2006
A national Tiger Conservation Authority (TCA) has finally been set up with constitutional power, though heavily diluted with 13 radical clauses to placate the tribal lobby.
The most crucial of these additions says that no direction of the TCA "shall interfere or affect the rights of local people particularly the Scheduled Tribes".
As the pending tribal Bill seeks to redefine these rights,the TCA's authority is likely to depend on the final shape of the tribal Bill.
• The core areas are to be "kept as inviolate without affecting the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and such other forest dwellers".
• "Save for voluntary relocation","no Scheduled Tribes or other forest dwellers shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected for the purpose of creating inviolate areas for tiger conservation".
• There are certain provisions for relocation from areas where human habitation causes "irreversible damage" or where "options of co-existence are not available". But the power to determine such cases is with the Gram Sabhas and designated local expert panels
and not with the TCA.
• The right to redraw the core-buffer boundary is also with