Monday, Aug 03, 2020 | Last Update : 06:06 PM IST

132nd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra44122827680915576 Tamil Nadu2576131964834132 Andhra Pradesh158764828861474 Delhi1376771233174004 Karnataka134819577252496 Uttar Pradesh92921533571730 West Bengal75516527301678 Telangana6766048609551 Gujarat63675466892482 Bihar5727036637322 Rajasthan4441031216706 Assam4290532385105 Haryana3651929690433 Odisha3491321955236 Madhya Pradesh3353523550886 Kerala259121446383 Jammu and Kashmir2141613127396 Punjab1785311466423 Jharkhand121884513115 Chhatisgarh9608699158 Uttarakhand7593443786 Goa6530466853 Tripura5248346323 Puducherry3806230952 Manipur283117377 Himachal Pradesh2654150813 Arunachal Pradesh19359693 Nagaland19356484 Chandigarh111769819 Meghalaya8742645 Sikkim6582891 Mizoram4702580
  India   Tribals tread arduous road for forest rights

Tribals tread arduous road for forest rights

Published : Jun 14, 2016, 2:48 am IST
Updated : Jun 14, 2016, 2:48 am IST

Odisha has the unique distinction of being one of the few Indian states where thousands of local communities are actively protecting and conserving their forests.

Odisha has the unique distinction of being one of the few Indian states where thousands of local communities are actively protecting and conserving their forests. These people, who meet their own livelihood requirements from forests, however, are struggling since long to assert their rights over the forest resources due to alleged bureaucratic delay.

Renowned tribal rights activist Gourang Rout says the local communities customarily enjoyed, protected and conserved the forests for ages. Although the ownership of forests was with local rulers in the medieval period, the local communities enjoyed almost unhindered access rights to them for their needs. However, from the colonial period, forests started being targeted for commerce and revenue.

 

“The traditional and customary rights of the people were often neither recognised nor recorded by the colonial government while declaring forests to be state property. There are numerous examples of rebellions against reservation of forests by tribal communities in the history of the freedom struggle. After series of consultations both at state and national levels — the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, was enacted, recognising local communities’ rights over forests. But, transfer of rights to the local communities is still lacking,” says Dr Rout.

“The unconvincing delay in recognition of Community Forest Rights (CFR) under Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 has resulted in the local communities getting deprived of their entitlements. During displacement for industrial projects and other activities, they do not get due compensation and rehabilitation. The CFR also treats them as accused while collecting forest produce or undertaking agriculture in the lands traditionally held by their communities,” observes Dr Rout.

 

But he adds that the enactment of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, he adds, was a watershed in the hard-fought and prolonged struggle of adivasis and other forest dwellers of India.

“For the first time in the history of the country, the state formally acknowledged the injustice done to forest dwelling communities due to non-recognition of their rights during the consolidation of state forests. The new forest rights law attempts to right this historic wrong and empowers right holding communities and Gram Sabhas to protect, conserve, regenerate or manage their community forest resources for sustainable use. The state government must realise this and expedite the process of bestowing upon the local communities their rights over forest resources,” observes Dr Rout.