Skip to main content

Participatory Forest Resource Management: A Case of Lodha Community

Joint Forest Management originated in West Bengal in 1980's in Asia and Africa. The major hardwood of Arabari is Sal, a commercially profitable forest resource. Ajit Kumar Banerjee, a silviculturist working for the Forest Department as the Divisional Forest Officer, was conducting trials which were constantly being disturbed by grazing and illegal harvesting by the local populace. Joint Forest Management (JFM) is an approach and program initiated in the context of the National Forest Policy of 1988 wherein state forest departments support local forest dwelling and forest fringe communities to protect and manage forests and share the costs and benefits from the forests with them. For working in coordination with villagers, Forest Committees are constituted. A Micro plan for the development of forests and villages is prepared by the Forest Department and the forest committees. Along with the protection and development of forests, the main purpose of this plan is to fulfil the forest-based needs of the local population like small timber, minor forest produce, fuelwood, leaves, grass, fodder etc. by regulated use of the forests.
The present article is an observation based case study of the Lodha community of Muchiberiah village of Paschim Midnapore. The village is inhabited by the Lodhas since a long time and their livelihood is dependent on the collection and selling of forest resources. Despite being the primary users of forest and living in the vicinity of forests, they mostly have been ignored in the affairs of the nationalized ambition of forest protection and its management.  The study specifically highlights the structure and functioning of Joint Forest Management (JFM) in a Lodha village (Muchiberiah) of Paschim Medinipur district.
According to Kasinath Nayek, Niranjan Nayek, Bankim Nayek and some villagers – in February 1989, forest officer and some staffs came in this village and asked that this large dense forest is not a govt. property but the property of the community. To preserve this forest it is not possible for us but your active co-operation is needed. Forest officer and Range officer fixed a date for call meeting and a meeting held between officers and the villagers. After meeting, 10 members from the villagers are included in a committee and a JFM committee was formed on 06.02.1998 in the name ‘Muchiberiyah Banraksa Samitee’(MBS). 92 ha. of forest area was allotted for protection particularly Khasjungle, Tailakkapur, Muchiberiyah to the committee members of the village. At that time 10 people in the committee from the village took the oath to protect and preserve the forest. Among this 10 people, Niranjan Nayek was selected as head of committee. At present there are two types of forest protection committee namely Muchiberiyah Banraksa Samitee and JICA Committee. Muchiberiyah Banraksa Samitee (MBS) is connected to forest office and solely responsible for taking decision related to the management and protection of the forest resources. JICA committee is responsible for doing plantation in the forest area in collaboration with forest department and also look after the protection and management of plantation trees. At present MBS (Muchiberiyah Banraksa Samitee) is comprised of 128 people of which 6 are main members headed by Tarapada Nayek. Whereas JICA committee comprised of 15 members of which 4 are main members headed by Kasinath Nayek.
The committee imposed following rules for the protection of the forest and they kept provision for legal action in case of disobeying of rules by the villagers,
·         The villagers are allowed only to collect dry woods, leaves, and stems and also edible products such as mushrooms, honey etc. from the forest.
·         Restriction is imposed to cut big or small living trees.
·         Villagers are also prohibited to hunt and kill any wild animals.
·         Villagers cannot cut the small and un-matured tree, instead, they can cut matured tree with prior approval from the MBS.
·         The villagers are allowed to take the forest products that is wood (either live a dead) only during the emergency time, (construction of homes, to burn the dead bodies etc) as per requirements with permission.
·         After logging, the logs will be auctioned by the forest department and the 25% share of the selling price will be deposited in the account of MBS.
·         Provision for legal action is there in case of illegal logging of trees by the villagers.

During the study it was observed that the MBS played an important role in bringing changes in the perception of the local stakeholders. MBS is not only protecting forest resources but also acting as an agent of broader social transformation by developing community consciousness, cooperative endeavour and financial support system for the villagers that come under the jurisdiction of MBS area. Hence, MBS can be considered as a model of holistic development that worth detailed study.
BY- Manoj Raul, PhD Scholar, RKMVERI, Ranchi


Popular posts from this blog

Rabindranath Tagore's idea of rural reconstruction

Rabindranath Tagore was not only a great poet rather he had got deep feeling for rural reconstruction in India. He always tried to make people happy not only economically rather by his songs Dave's and dharma also. After successfully starting of Shatiniketan at Bolepur in West Bengal he thought about another separate Centre for rural all round development. It was Sriniketan. It visualized for self-supporting steps of rural people. Starting with neighboring villages, the institute has conducted it's activities in many villages. These villages are graped under sub-centers for the convenience of administration the area has been divided into two zones 1. Intensive area, 2. Extensive area. The first comprises 26 villages which are under the direct guidance and supervision of Sriniketan. The activities of the institution may be broadly divided into nine spheres 1.Agriculture 2.Industry, 3.Village-welfare, 4.Co-oparation, 5.Health and sanitation, 6.Education, 7.Social organisation, 8.Economic …

Regulating Struggle for Bauxite Mine Safety: Native Asur communities in Jobhipat

Jobhipat Bauxite Mine is situated near village Narma, post office Jobhipat, police station Bishunpur, district Gumla, state Jharkhand with the local dialects like nagpuri, hindi, oriya, bihari and kurukh. This bauxite mine is spread across 1,29,445 ha with annual digging rate of 3,28,739 tons. If we go to it's historical legacy, then mining here started around may 1974 on 129.44 hectares then on lease basis for 20 years. Then Hindalco Industries Limited from the house of Aditya Birla Group came here with an renewal application and again started digging from 15th may, 1992. Later, the third renewal was approved on 15th may 2013, under Rule 12 of MCR 1960 and now the renewal is modified with rule no 17(3) of MCR 2016, which sanctions them a optimum lease period extended upto 17th may 2024, as per MMDR (Amendment) Act 2015. The land under mining was earlier comprising of mainly agricultural land, forest land and jungle jhari land which was quite more fertile then. The starting of min…

Child labour status in contemporary India

Introduction:           If the employment of children in any type of services despoils their childhood, trespass their right to go to the school and if that harm their social, physical and moral conditions, then it come under the term child labour. Child labour has clear geographical model. In develop countries child labour rate is 7% where in under developed countries it is around 30%. Actually there are some negative interrelation between economic development and child labour scenario of a country.                                                                                                According to UNICEF, worldwide there are almost 218 million children of the child group between 5 to 17 years are working as child labour(except domestic child labour). These include the use of children by military work like as informers, child prostitute, bar singer etc as well as agricultural worker.            In India there are almost 1.2 crore 1.85 lakh children who work as child labour. Amon…