Dalit Vikas Vindu (DVV)

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Dalits

Project Period

01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015

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Introduction

The three fourth populations of Jharkhand lives in rural areas, (about 75.95 percent), including 95 percent of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and 91 percent of Scheduled Castes (SCs). Jharkhand has a very large forest area and a very large tribal and non tribal forest dependent population. The estimated forest cover is 29% of the total geographical area of the state, with many districts having what has worked and what could be improved to make them more organically linked within a community for greater sustainability and more visible change. The existence of forests is strongly correlated with the presence of tribal communities (given that 28% of the population is ST, and includes 32 tribal groups) dependent largely on forest land and other resources. However, the development process over the decade, primarily forest dependents have not been given due importance and they continue to face repression and their rights on the land and resources are constantly violated.

Impact by partner

During the previous two years of intervention, the focus of the work was on strengthening the community based Forest Rights Committee constituted by the District Welfare Department and also raise awareness on FRA, IFR and CFR among the forest dwellers. Besides efforts were made to establish linkages with govt. departments and fix their accountability to implement FRA.

  • The defunct FRCs were reconstituted in some of the intervention villages and through regular meetings and capacity building process the FRC was sensitized on their roles and responsibilities defined under FRA. Besides, they were also on Amendment Rules 2012. Around 540 FRC members’ along with PRI members had collectively participated in sensitization meeting. As part of the meetings Right to forest land and minor forest produces were also discussed. The PRI members were sensitized to regularize their meeting so that filing of application could be accelerated. As a result, PRI Functionaries are contributing their best effort towards organizing Gram Sabha, support in arrangement of evidences like caste and residential certificates.
  • Progress of Application under IFR:
    • Total no. of IFR prepared so far: 351 (Extent of land: 676.96 acres)
    • Total no. of IFR prepared during the year: 102(Extent of land: 163.10 acres)
    • Total no. of IFR ready for submission: 53 (Extent of land: 94.73 acres)
    • Total no. of IFR at FRC level: 84
  • Community leaders, Forest Right committees including women were oriented and capacitated on their legal right on forest land and Non-Timber Forest Produces under FRA. Besides, they were also oriented on use of RTI for seeking information on the status regarding their filed application using RTI and any necessary document from Forest department and at SDLC and DLC level. Discussions are also being done about the right of ownership, access to collect Minor Forest Produce locally available viz; Mahua, firewood Kendu leaves medicinal herbs etc and protect NTFP for sustainable use.
  • Interface meetings were held with District Welfare Department wherein the community members directly interacted with the govt officials on various issues related to the IFR and CFR claim forms, provisions under FRA, Policy and Legislation. A written petition was given to the Government officials for making the forms available. As a follow up of the meeting the department printed the forms which were distributed in the operational areas. Also, the interface meeting led to establish a good rapport with the Govt. departments and project staff has been in regular contact with officials. This has resulted in the selection of 15 FRCs members from the intervention villages for five day Govt. training on FRA and Amendment Rules 2012 organized at state level.
  • The training on Micro plan development was effective and helped in initiating the process of micro plan development in 20 villages. Altogether, 641 community members (258 female & 383 male participants) including PRI members, community leaders & project team participated in the process. During the micro plan development processes, Need Assessment & Prioritization of needs, Listing of Resources, Social Mapping, Resource Mapping etc. were done.
  • A combined training on IFR and CFR tracking process was organized and an MIS was developed to track the current progress of CFR and IFR process at Village, SDLC, and DLC level.
  • The PRI Functionaries have been capacitated and they are supporting the community members in arrangement of evidences viz: Residential certificates, Caste certificates, village maps with related data etc in best possible way.
  • There has been change in mindset of community members about the Community Rights under FRA. They are now showing their curiosity to access Community Forest Rights.
  • Some of the district Govt. officials have taken interest in supporting the FRCs. The District Welfare Department has taken initiatives to train the members Forest Right Committee on instruction and guideline by chief secretary of state Govt.
  • RTI training has developed a level of confidence among the PRIs and FRCs. An RTI was filed in District Forest Department, Koderma for seeking list of FRC with detailed information of names of members. This information helped in reconstitution of FRCs.

Case Study

45 tribal families live in village Semarkundi. The community consists of 3 hamlets namely Baijulla, Ghutiya and Semarkundi. The village is 18 km away from Domchanch block. The main livelihood sources of the people are wage-labour and they depend on forest resources. The people of the community do not have sufficient cultivable land and some of them plough forest land and some of them are dependent on collection and processing of minor forest produce (MFPs) such as; Mahua, Kendu Leaves, firewood etc. and rests of them are labourer. The means of irrigation is limited, too in the community and the agriculture is rainfed. However, some of land is irrigated through well during the summer season. There is an ICDS centre and a primary school in the village.

When Dalit Vikas Vindu and project team started its operation to share the knowledge about FRA issues in the said community. They had several round discussions with community people during their field visits or meeting with them. The community members were lacking awareness about the Right provided under the Forest Right Act’ 2006. Hence the team decided to have a discussion on FRA and also the problems the community were confronting with. During the discussion following problems were identified and shared by community people:

  • The community has been facing serious problems like; Poverty and unemployment due to unavailability of adequate means of irrigation and cultivable land too.
  • The community members have been already either dependent or cultivating on forestland but some of them did not have any evidence against the land.
  • The community members were lacking knowledge about their Rights on Forest Land so they always have to face problems from Forest Department.
  • The community were also lacking map of village under forest land and other related documents in the Forest Right Committee.

Meanwhile the process of d evelopment of Micro plan was initiated at Semarkundi in collaboration with community participants including FRCs members, PRI Functionaries Women Group Leaders. Team member of DVV facilitated the process. Following processes were adopted during the programme:

  • Aam Sabha in collaboration with PRI Functionary, FRCs members and women groups presided by Smt. Kamla Devi Ward member.
  • Need Assessment process using PRA tools.
  • Prioritization of needs.
  • Listing of available Community Resources.
  • Mapping of Natural Resources.
  • Social Mapping.
  • Development of village profile.

It was analyzed that the community people were giving more importance to means of irrigation. At the same time, Smt. Kamla Devi who is the ward member of Semarkundi agreed to carry out the next process to submit the plan for means of irrigation for the benefit of her community at panchayat level.

There after several round of meeting with District welfare department was done by community leaders for follow up of their demands.

The first meeting with govt. officials was held on 27 th July 2013 presided by the DWO, Koderma in Semarkundi village in which a total of 34 participants were present. After hearing concern and need of community DWO agreed with proposal of community. As a part of decision, following resolution were undertaken -

  • Construction of Lift irrigation scheme in Jhumri River of Semarkundi was sanctioned. The estimated cost of the scheme is INR 7.60 lac implemented with support of Welfare Department under Proto type Project of Govt. of Jharkhand. It was targeted to irrigate around 17.78 acres of land through the construction of Lift Irrigation and around 36-45 HH and will be benefited from this scheme.
  • Construction of Intake well in Jhumri River through 15’ deep trench in land of Sri Mukhlalji on plot no. 163.
  • This project will be used to meet the need of means of irrigation and by total control of tribal group.
  • The community people, through formation of Monitoring and Protection Committee would be responsible after completion of the project to carry out maintenance of each resources such as; in take Well, Pump House etc.
  • The community would use the lift irrigation facility for the purpose of agricultural land and their irrigation purpose only.