Maharashtra village first in India with right to harvest bambooApril 28th, 2011 - 1:31 am ICT by IANS
Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), April 28 (IANS) Mendha-Lekha, a remote village in the Maoist-affected Gadchiroli district of eastern Maharashtra, has become the first in the country where tribals have been given the right to sell bamboo harvested from the surrounding forests, an official said.
The villagers, numbering around 3,000, attended the function Wednesday when village head Devaji Tofa was handed over a transit passbook, enabling the villagers to sell the bamboo from the region in the markets.
The transit passes are required to take the bamboo from the village to the market, but the state forest department had refused the facility to the villagers for over one-and-a-half years.
“This is a historic occasion which serves to empower the local villagers and make them economically stronger,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on the occasion.
Chavan said that though Gadchiroli with 78 percent forest cover is the greenest district in the state, it is also the most economically backward.
Ironically, the green cover was restricting the scope of taking up developmental projects in the district and this in turn was giving rise to the problems of Maoists here, Chavan remarked.
In addition, Chavan pointed out being a remote district hard hit by Maoism, officials refused to take up postings here.
“Around 40 percent of the government posts here are lying vacant, further hampering development prospects here. Giving forest rights to the local people is the best way to save our forests,” Chavan said.
Speaking on the occasion, union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said that the revolutionary move on bamboo would now place a greater responsibility on the villagers to protect forests.
He said that since 2006 when the Forest Rights Act was implemented, 1.10 million people around the country have been vested with the right to gather and sell minor forest products like bamboo, mahua, tendu leaves and sal seeds.
“Of these (1.10 million), 1,00,000 tribals are in Maharashtra alone. However, the country still lags behind in giving community rights over the local forests,” Ramesh said.
From the total of 2,800 community rights over forests given around the country, as many as 691 villages are in Maharashtra alone, and Ramesh called for giving similar rights to more villages.
The state forest department drew flak from all the dignitaries for refusing to give the transit passes to the local villagers.
Ramesh went to the extent of warning the concerned officials of legal action for refusing the transit passes henceforth.
Present on the occasion were state Home Minister and guardian minister of Gadchiroli R. R. Patil, Forests Minister Patangrao Kadam, local legislator Namdev Usendi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A. K. Joshi and Sunit Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi.
- Tiger panel office to come up in Nagpur - Apr 15, 2011
- Maoists kill 11 CRPF troopers in landmine blast (Third Lead) - Mar 27, 2012
- Maoists kill 12 CRPF troopers in landmine blast (Fourth Lead) - Mar 27, 2012
- No intelligence alert on Maoist attack: R.R. Patil - Mar 28, 2012
- Six non-timber forest projects in Maoist-hit areas: Ramesh - Feb 03, 2012
- Cop killed in gunfight with Maoists in Maharashtra - May 19, 2011
- Maharashtra raises age bar for drinking alcohol (Lead) - Jun 01, 2011
- Three women die in forest fire - Mar 22, 2012
- Maoists kills 10 CRPF troopers in Maharashtra (Second Lead) - Mar 27, 2012
- Maoists kill village Congress leader in Maharashtra - Jan 28, 2012
- Tight security ensures quiet I-Day in Mumbai - Aug 15, 2011
- Chidambaram visits Gadchiroli to review security - Dec 28, 2010
- Environment Ministry defends Jaitapur project - Dec 29, 2010
- Four cops, three Maoists killed in Maharashtra gun battles (Lead) - May 19, 2011
- New roads, bridges for Maharashtra's Maoist-hit Gadchiroli - Jun 11, 2012
Tags: 10 million, chavan, chief minister, development prospects, developmental projects, forest cover, forest products, forests, government posts, half years, maharashtra, mahua, maoist, maoists, minor forest, passbook, prithviraj, state forest department, tribals, union minister