Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC)

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Tribals

Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 31 Mar 2016

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Introduction

Odisha is a state with 22 percent its population are tribals. They live in the interior forest pockets of the state. Highland agriculture along with collection of forest produce are the major occupation for these inhabitants.  Currently, due to state’s inclination towards rapid industrialization, huge amount of mining work and various other projects are implemented. This creates an insecurity for the tribal livelihoods.. Forest Rights Act 2006 was a positive note to the tribal populations which was enacted highlighting the Individual and Community Forest Rights and also Rights over the Management of the Forest Resources. Oxfam India partner RCDC has been involved in the advocacy work of Demanding Rights of Forest Dwellers over the forest Natural Resources using the provisions of FRA 2006. RCDC is operational in 3 districts in Odisha.  It has an outreach to more than 8500 plus CFM groups which are not recognized by the state forest department. These CFM groups are continuously striving for the rights to manage their own forest on sustainable basis.

 

About the Project: 

The project will look at the Forest Rights Act beyond its implementation and the sole purpose of it is to enhance the tribal livelihoods convergence of livelihood schemes and programmes. The amendment of the FRA Rules has broadened the scope of Gramsabha to exercise its authority in asserting the forest rights. Now, the claim making process will be undertaken in Mayurbhanj for IFR, CR and CFR. Besides, the Gramsabha shall initiate the process of conversion of Forest Villages into Revenue villages. The landless households would be covered under appropriate schemes under OGLS and OPLE as per state revenue laws. Again, the Gramsabhas in Bolangir have delineated their traditional boundaries and have been undertaking dialogues with SDLC / DLC to recognise the Community Forest resource Rights. The Government of Odisha though recognised IFRs in a large number but the Community Forest Rights recognition is very less. So, the efforts would be to recognise both the Community Rights as well as Community Forest Resource Rights. Right now, the communities in 6 Forest villages are in process of undertaking conversion process for revenue villages as per FRA guideline. So, the priority of this project would be to get these rights recognised and recoded. However, still there are a lot of non-cooperation and barriers in exercising the rights of tribal communities as per FRA. The District Administration as well as the Forest department is apathetic and callous in giving priority to the Forest Rights issues. Again, the modalities of JFM and programmes like “Ama Jangal Yojana”, “Green India Mission”, and “Protection of Sacred Groves / worship place” are also another conflicting and debatable area that stabilises VSS instead of Gramsabha.  Therefore, advocacy and networking activities are needed at the state level as well as at the national level. 

This apart, the project will provide an opportunity for the communities to acquire technical input for forest management besides their traditional knowledge and skill. The support from the forest department as well as other line departments in developing the Community Forest Resource (CFR) management plan will be sought. The project will also focus on convergence with Government programmes like MGNREGA, NABARD, DRDA supported schemes; agriculture, horticulture, pisciculture etc. are some of the area that helps in reducing pressure from the forest which in turn provides scope for sustainable forest management. 

More specifically, RCDC also proposes to connect with the macro stakeholders and play a watchdog role in the development process of Odisha and function as an applied resource centre on natural resource management and environment with special attention to bio-diversity conservation. The objectives of the project for the current year are:

  • To get the Individual Forest Rights, Community Rights and Community Forest Resource rights recognised and vested within the community.
  • To prepare CFR management plans in 17 villages in congruence with the livelihoods and food security.
  • To promote NTFP based livelihood through women cooperatives vis-a-vis assert convergence schemes, programmes of the government in to the IFRs and CFRs.
  • To take up advocacy and networking activities for pro-tribal policy, guidelines, government orders etc.   

 

Results to be Achieved: 

  1. Enabling the target community to use, access tenurial rights over the natural resources (land, water, forest and minor minerals) by the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers in the targeted villages
  2. Village institutions are strengthened and community leadership including women leadership are promoted.
  3. Schemes and programme support of the Government line departments on livelihoods and social security are to be mobilised.
  4. Community Based CFR Management plans could be developed through section 5 of the FRA and advocacy agenda for its replication could be promoted.
  5. Communication materials, policy briefs including periodicals on decentralized forest governance in both Oriya and English languages produced and disseminated among various stakeholders..

Prior Achievements:

  • CFR issues & challenges shared to MoTA, SC&ST Development Department, Governor
  • 18 people & community get Pakruti Mitra, Pakruti Bandhu, Biju Pattnaik Wildlife Protectiion Award
  • Publication of the Journal on FRA status in Odisha

Quotes of Beneficiaries:

‘Now we are able to reach to the administration only because of RCDC and Oxfam’