Raipur: Community Forest Resource Rights awareness campaign will be conducted in the state from August 15 to January 26 to make aware the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers of Chhattisgarh. A calendar of this campaign has been prepared, which was released by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on 9th August on World Tribal Day. Guidelines for implementation of Community Forest Resource Rights have been prepared at the state level and workshops were organized for field workers, but information and procedures were still not accessible to the Gram Sabhas. Now again the Chief Minister reviewed and felt the need for a special campaign to make the Gram Sabhas aware. Keeping this in mind the Foundation for Ecological Security has prepared a calendar of Community Forest Resource Rights Awareness Campaign to inform the Gram Sabhas about the procedures under the guidance of Tribal Development Department and Forest Department. It was launched by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on 9 August. This campaign will be run from 15 August 2022 to 26 January 2023.
In the celebration of the 75th year of Independence Day, the campaign will be started by reading about the Forest Rights Act in all the Gram Panchayats. After this, a target has been set to have a discussion proposal on community forest resources in the gram sabhas in all forest based villages by January 2023. In this, Gram Sabha for the launch of claims in August, talks with the Chief Minister through Lokvani in September, proposals in the Gram Sabha in October, programs on the State Foundation Day in November, Haat Bazaar in December, discussions in the Gram Sabha in January, etc. Awareness campaign will be conducted in This campaign is a common campaign, in which all the voluntary organizations will join, which have accelerated this work for a long time and are currently conducting it. In the program organized by Tribal Development Department on 9th August on World Tribal Day, awareness posters along with campaign song and a film on the efforts of Gram Sabha of Chargaon of Dhamtari’s urban development block were screened at the launch of this campaign.
In the program, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel directed the Tribal Development Department and Forest Department to conduct this campaign across the state. Considering the role of voluntary organizations also important, the Chief Minister called upon them to make the campaign a success. Chhattisgarh is the only state where the right to such community resources has been targeted and efforts are being made to empower Gram Sabhas for the same. Through this, along with the traditional cultural heritage of the community, these forest resources will come under their rights along with their responsibility.
According to Sanjay Joshi, Executive Director, Foundation for Ecological Security, the organization works on improving the livelihood of the community through the management and conservation of community natural resources across the country. Through this, efforts are made to keep the health of the environment better. In this sequence, along with the Chhattisgarh government, the organization is trying to strengthen the community forest resource management at the field level.
At present, claims of community forest resource rights have been approved in total 3801 villages of the state. These include claims of 15,32,316.866 hectares. In community forest resource rights, the right of forest within the limits of a traditional village and the right of small and big shrub forest of revenue is given to the Gram Sabha, in which they also have the responsibility of protection, conservation, reproduction, management of these forest areas. The Gram Sabhas constitute the Forest Rights Committee to submit the claim and on receipt of the claim can constitute the Forest Management Committee for the management.
For claims, village elders, women, representatives of all residing tribes including patwaris, forest guards, panchayat secretaries, etc. identify the customary boundary and share the information with the neighboring village. Along with this, the vision map, village settlement sheet, statement of elders and no-objection letter of the village adjoining the neighboring border are put up. After this the verification is done by the subdivision level committee. If everything is found correct, it is sent to the district level committee. If found right there, you get a letter of authority.