Ten years of Forest Rights Act: Maharashtra tops in implementation – but credit goes to one district

Ten years after the Center adopted a law giving Adivasis rights and other forest dwellers to manage forest land resources, Maharashtra became the prime minister of one of the states in the implementation of the provisions of that law, Followed closely by Kerala.

A new report from Forest Learning on Community and Defense Rights – a collective that brings together members of the community and their organisations, civil society groups, researchers and academics – has demonstrated that Maharashtra’s success is the result of a Recognition of community forest rights registration in eastern Gadchiroli, State District.

“If Gadchiroli is removed from the image, the average performance of the implementation of Maharashtra CFR [protection of community forest resources] in relation to the minimum potential [of eligible forest land rights] would be around 10 % “, He pointed out.

He added that Maharashtra had given villagers community rights over forest resources in 15% of lands prone to recognise these rights. However, it is only because it recognised these rights in 66% of the potential area in Gadchiroli.

In the rest of the state, there has been no implementation in 21 districts, between 0% and 33% in nine districts and between 33% and 66% in two districts.

The Registered Tribes Act and other traditional forest habitats (Recognition of Forest Rights) adopted in December 2006, was a landmark event that made the traditional forest rights holders access, management and governance of forest lands and resources within Of the villages controlled by the forest department from the colony.

According to the law, forest dwellers can apply to state governments for individual or community forest rights – which means they can have in the process of protecting and conserving forests in their areas. They may also collect and sell smaller forest products, such as tendu or bamboo leaves, which was an illegal activity before the law was enacted.

However, states have not been particularly active in the implementation of these rights. As noted in the report, only seven states have recognised community forest rights.

Maharashtra has granted community forest rights on 15% of the 1.2 hectares of potential forest land that could be eligible under these rules to the benefit of 5,741 communities. Kerala is about 14%, followed by Gujarat and Odisha 9% to 5%. In India, states have recognised that 3% of potential forest community rights.

A strong Adivasi movement in Gadchiroli is an important reason for the district’s impressive performance. The Adivasi groups have pushed to adopt the Forest Rights Law and from the pressures exerted by the movement that resulted in May 2008, the State must notify to the norms of the law and order the gramme panchayats begin the holding of meetings applications of Community forest rights.

This was followed by a campaign for massive deposit claims, with technical contributions from civil society groups. Mendha Lekha and Marda became the first two villages in Gadchiroli but not only in the country where community forestry rights have been recognised. The applications of these villages have become the format for applications after 2012.

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