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Forest act to empower Ranchi villages

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By AMIT GUPTA
  • Published 29.02.12
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Ranchi, Feb. 28: Eighteen villages of Ranchi district will be the first to receive community rights over local natural resources under the forest act in Jharkhand by next month.

Nine of these 18 lucky villages that will be empowered under the Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 have already been been chosen.

These are: Buchaupa (Chanho block), Loyo (Mandar block), Chailgadha (Burmu), Lapra (Khelari), Sutiambe (Kanke), Kudagarha (Namkum), Jareya (Namkum), Hariharpur Jamtoli (Bero) and Pandra (Ratu).

Ranchi deputy commissioner K.K. Soan said efforts were on to identify the other villages that would be empowered under the act, the most powerful sections of which concern the community’s right to manage, protect and conserve forests.

Founder of NGO Jharkhand Jungle Bachao Andolan Sanjay Bosu Mullick said Ranchi would be the first district in the state to follow the guidelines of the 2006 act under sections 3(1)(B), 3 (1) (i) and 5.

“As per its provisions, once community forest rights are recognised for a particular set of villages, they would have the right of protection (of entire biodiversity), regeneration and managements of forest areas concerned,” the activist, who has been pursuing the matter with the Ranchi district administration told, The Telegraph.

“This will not only benefit the forest dwellers concerned but also the forests as a whole,” he added.

Maharashtra, Mullick explained, was the first state in the country to extend community forest rights in two villages under Naxalite-hit Gadhchiroli district dominated by Gond tribes a couple of years ago.

“Community forest rights have also been extended to 25 villages situated along the BRT hills in Karnataka, but in majority of the other states, the act has largely been ignored,” he said.

Soan said soon a sub-divisional officer and his team would go to the identified villages in Ranchi for physical verification. After this, a district-level committee will scrutinise details.

Mullick, whose organisation helped gram sabhas write out necessary applications with the district administration, explained that if managed properly, the communities could get huge returns from forest resources by dealing in non-timber forest produce.

“Moreover, illegal felling of trees will be stopped and the community will be responsible for regeneration of the forests by pursuing plantation drives,” he said.