Vasundhara

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Tribals

Project Period

01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015

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Introduction

The objective of this evidence based advocacy project is to support and strengthen a National level platform on CFR learning and advocacy with special focus on states where CFRs are progressing or have great potential, and where there are active civil society groups working on CFRs, e.g. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Karnataka .

Impact by partner
  • CONSULTATIONS/MEETINGS

National Level Public Hearing on CFRs

Based on 7th June brainstorming in Delhi and subsequent discussions, decision was taken to modify the year's

activities and to conduct a national public hearing on CFRs to target the coming general elections.

The Public hearing on CFRs was held by CFR-LA and AJAM in December 2013 in Delhi and had greater

participation this year of organizations and groups from about 13 states.

The public hearing could ensure sharing of testimonies by the organizations and community members on

important issues before a distinguished jury and people’s representatives. The public hearing was followed by

a meeting of CFR-LA members to strategize for advocacy on CFRs.

  • Strategizing meeting of CFR-LA members

As a follow-up to the Public Hearing a half day meeting was held to discuss key issues relating to CFRs emerging out of the public hearing that would require follow-up and to strategise a way forward.

  • National Consultation on relevance of FRA in Forest Diversion

CFR-LA organised a consultation on the relevance of the provisions of FRA in forest diversion in March 2014 at XISA in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. The consultation brought together various civil society organisations, researchers and people involved on the ground in trying to stop the takeover of forest land for various “developmental” activities by the state and private players.

  • STUDIES-
  • Forest Diversion and FRA compliance:

FAC agenda and minutes available on the website are being analysed for FRA compliance. A national overview has been prepared. The study included case studies from Odisha(Puri, Keonjhar and Angul districts).

Letters of Advocacy:

To FAC on ensuring FRA compliance with Aug 2009 circular on issues relating to FRA in forest diversion project t in Maharashtra (Windmill projectin Kolhapur)and mining project in Jharkhand.

To MoTA for ensuring FRA compliance according to Aug 2009 circular for Thoubal Dam, Manipur

Comments on:

Draft Forest (Conservation) Bill sent to MoEF

  • ADVOCACY ON CFR ISSUES

Statements and letters were sent using CFR-LA list serve as a platform for discussion and efforts. Issues addressed included:

    • Allocation of CAMPA funds in relocation of villages from the tiger reserves. Letter written to Ms Jayanti Natarajan, Union Minister, Ministry of Environment & Forests.
    • Letter to MOTA on dilution of FRA process in linear project.
    • Joint letter to MOTA, State govt on the Hosapadu honey cease case in BRT wildlife sanctuary.
    • Comments were submitted on the draft NAC recommendations regarding PVTGs by in July urging for clarity on the role of FRA within the recommendations.
  • STATE LEVEL ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF CFRS THROUGH FIELD VISITS

Visit was made to Nandurbar in Akkalkuwa and Akrani talukas to document processes in three villages where CFR claims have been and are in process of being filed.

Inputs have been provided to pastoralist groups in Gujarat for claiming community rights under FRA. Inputs and training support have been provided to CSOs in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand on CFR claim making process.

  • REGULAR UPDATES ON CFRS ON FRA WEBSITE

Updates on CFR related developments, government interventions and important orders/circulars, consultations and workshops have been shared in the FRA website and CFR LA email group. The CFR LA email group has now got participation of about 300 members including civil society organizations, researchers, activists, national and state level campaigns and advocacy forums, NGOs.

Case Study

Recognition of Community Forest Rights in Protected areas-Chhattigarh

Chhattisgarh has 11 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 National parks. However, the status of FRA implementation is not progressing in the protected areas. According to updates placed before the Chhattisgarh State Assembly for the period between 18th February to 22nd March 2013, relocation of several villages has been planned from many protected areas from across the state. In Bar- Navapara Wild life Sanctuary in Mahasamund district, forest villages viz. Latadadar, Nawapara,Bafra, Gudagarh, Mudhpar, Bhimbauri, Dheba and Akaltaraare proposed to be displaced from the sanctuary while 135 families from Rampur village have already been relocated . 6 villages from Achanakmar Tiger Reserve have also been displaced . However, there is no information provided by the state on whether the rights recognition process under FRA was followed before these villages were relocated. Meanwhile, there are reports of forced evictions from villages of Rajanacha and Baijadhap around Bhoramdeo Reserve Forests of Kawardha district . There are reports of the huts of the villagers being razed to the ground. This was done by the forest department to ensure safety for wildlife. The process of recognition of rights under the FRA has not been followed and neither has a resettlement and relocation package been announced for the same. However, in the 1580 sq km. area proposed under the Udanti and SitaNadi Wildlife Sanctuary in Gariabandhdistrict, community leaders of six panchayats in Chhattisgarh, comprising 24 villages, have refused to be relocated from their villages and forests and have pledged to take charge of forest management from the forest department, in order to increase forest cover as well as wildlife numbers by 150 per cent within five years .