Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC)

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2016 - 31 Mar 2017

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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 thematic coverage includes the recognition of forest rights of all the claimants: old and new (Schedule Tribes) within the year which includes Individual Forest Rights, Community Rights and Community Forest Resource.  Sustainable management of traditionally accessed Forest area under CFR for livelihood and food security is the duty as well as the right of the forest right holders who are to prepare the plan in Gramsabha. In other words, FRA 2006 also empowers the community to protect, manage, conserve and regenerate the traditionally accessed and managed forest area for the livelihood and food security needs. The project intends to establish community rights over the forest land and resources under FRA and to manage the community forest sustainably so that the model can be replicated in other areas. The convergence of other livelihood schemes programmes at the community level and individual level would provide better opportunity for forest management. This is because the more the forest dependency, the better will be the management. The third theme is that the community through larger networking would ask for necessary policy/provision changes which are in confrontation with the realisation of FRA. 

The Geographical coverage of the project is directly linked to 17 villages of three districts like Mayurbhanj – a PESA district dominated by tribal communities, Kalahandi and Bolangir – Modified Area Development Approach (MADA) Pockets and also inhabited by tribals with large number. But, in general the Project would cover the entire state of Odisha so far as policy advocacy aspect is concerned. The NRM based CFR management plan will be limited to 17 villages where as the advocacy and networking component will comprise the whole state of Odisha.   

 

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 SHGs 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: 

  • Greater sensitisation on FRA, PESA and TSP among FRCs, tribal leaders, women and men 
  • 454 IFRs, 12 Community rights and 17 Community Forest Resource recognised
  • 17 villages implemented their management plans for livelihoods development
  • Community and Government liasioning improved. 
  • 17 CFR management Plans linked with Forest working plans
  • Institutional capacity of the implementing organization built up through training, exposure and other support.
  • Conservation regime strengthened in 17 villages through in-situ-conservation and silvicultural operation

 

Prior Achievements:

  • In targeted villages, the CFR claim filing and in 17 villages the 12 CR claim filing process completed and all the claims are in DLC level.
  • FRC along with the PRI members are following up the claims at the DLC level .
  • CFR management plans are implemented in 5 villages, plans are completed in 4 villages, plan preparation is in process for 8 villages
  • Forest conservation and issues with regard to dispute resolution are integrated in the CFR management plan

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries:

‘RCDC and OXFAM india helped us to settle in the village through getting homestead lands’ 

Case Studies/Human stories:

Sandasmunda, a village located in Saintala block of Bolangir district. The partner organization, RCDC has  been working in the village since 2011.  The village is dominated with the tribal communities like Kandha and Ganda. Traditionally, these tribal communities predominantly depend on forest and its resources for their life and livelihoods. RCDC undertaken efforts to protect and conserve the forest degradation, to recognize their forest rights both IFR and CFR, to strengthen their livelihoods through convergence approach. 

Out of 126 households in Sandasmunda, 46 House holds got IFR and the claim process for Community rights and Community Forest Resource Rights were made. The people were oriented on their traditional and customary rights over the forest and forest resources. Bamboo is the major forest produce which is available in the area. They are highly dependent on this product which is the primary NTFP for their house construction, agricultural requirements, bamboo crafts etc. During the process of resource mapping and preparation of management plan, it was identified that gradual declining of Bamboos is one of the critical issues. The VFPC in the village and the FRC do not have any harvesting plan for bamboos and the controlling mechanism for bamboo was absent. It is also noticed that most of the bamboo bushes were four feet above the soil and therefore the health of the bush is very weak. In some bushes people have applied fire and these were in dying state. 

In this circumstance, people have to cross for two to three kilometers to collect bamboo in cropping seasons. After the intervention on forest rights work by RCDC, and as per Rule-16 of FRA which empowers the Gramsabha to recommend the claim for departmental support to strengthen their livelihoods through convergence. The organization facilitated the Gramsabha to make a resolution to get the rights over Bamboo and approached the Bamboo Mission and Forest Department to assist the community members of Gramsabha to support bamboo clumps. Accordingly, the people submitted their application along with the village resolution. The villagers selected the common land for bamboo transplantation. With the community effort 10 hectors area (3000 clumps) was transplanted with bamboo before June. Individually some farmers also transplanted bamboo in their fields and they availed a bonus amount of Rs. 1600/- per acre from the Bamboo Mission. Though, in this year the rainfall is 14 percent low in Bolangir but the clumps survived and the dying rate is very nominal. 

The training and capacity building support for the women and FRC members of Oxfam India and RCDC supported trainings for women and FRC members. During the intervention, the support of resource persons from Government especially forest department on the concept of Bamboo transplantation has helped a lot. The community members expressed satisfaction with the support from RCDC, Oxfam India as well as the Government. According to Santosh Puta, one of the community members, within three years the community members can be able to harvest bamboo from these bushes as per the norm. This is because bamboo is harvested within every four years. The communities are also trained regarding the harvesting practices. Now, these resources are in the control of people as they have claimed CFR and are protecting and managing the areas.