"Land is our life"

"Land is our life"

In India, the 2006 Forest Rights Act was supposed to protect the rights of millions of communities like the Kutia Kand Adivasi in Odisha, in the east of the country.

Kandana Jani, a 62-year-old father of five, followed the law and fought to have the rights of his family and 50 others in his community recognized through the Forest Rights Act.

But local authorities, under the guise of ‘forestation’ projects, have started bringing in profitable teak tree plantations onto land that Kandana and his community have rights to. 

The high global demand for teakwood furniture, floors and other commercial home goods has made this a profitable industry. However, expanding teak plantations comes at the expense of the Kutia. Where before they planted a variety of crops, and managed biodiversity in the forests, now they are fighting against the spread of these tree plantations. 

Without the forests, the community is now in danger of disappearing. However, Kandana and others are not sitting the fight out, but are instead petitioning the government to enforce their own laws. 

In 2006, with the Forest Rights Act, India recognized in law, rights of forest dependent communities, and proved to be a world leader on this matter. But competing interests have reduced that ambition. India needs to be a forests champion once again. 

What’s the solution? The Indian government must stop claiming community lands for industrial farming, mining or badly planned conservation projects. Instead, it should recognize the rights of tribal groups and local communities over their lands, and properly implement the 2006 Forest Rights Act. If this is realized on the ground, more than 150 million women and men, along with half of the country’s forests, will benefit.  

 

 

 

 

 


Others

Find out how Oxfam India is enabling communities by working to provide a life of dignity and equal opportunity for all.Get to know more about Oxfam India`s latest projects.

Read More

Related Stories

Oxfam India's #COVID19 Response

09 Jun, 2022

New Delhi

Food Stall Supports Families

In New Delhi’s Anand Parbat is a roadside food stall that is collectively run by the Mahila Shakti Self-Help Group (SHG).

Read More

Oxfam India's #COVID19 Response

09 Jun, 2022

New Delhi

Cash For Livelihood

Salma and Zareena had struggled financially their entire lives. As if that was not enough – the lockdown worsened their situation and left them struggling to even get basic necessities like food.

Read More

Education

30 May, 2022

Uttar Pradesh & Jharkhand

1081 Out Of School Children Enrolled

As of 30 May, we enrolled 1081 out of school children in 7 districts in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Read More

Private Sector Engagement

30 May, 2022

Assam

UNNATEA: The Tea Workers App

Oxfam India has been working for tea plantation workers in Assam so that they can access their rights, attain improved living conditions and wages, and live a life of dignity.

Read More