Khoj Evam Jan Jagriti Samiti (KHOJ)

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2016 - 31 Dec 2016

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Introduction

KHOJ has been working in the district of Gariyaband and Dhamtari of Chhattisgarh, largely with Kamar Adivasi (a notified PVTG by the Govt of India) on the issue of right to land, forest, malnutrition and food security etc. 

Gariyaband district rich in forest resources and known for the diamond (Kimberlite) reserves has substantial adivasi population, largely Gonds, Bhujia and Kamar in 3 blocks, which comes under fifth schedule area, having special provision for safeguarding interests of Scheduled Tribes. Dhamtari district is adjacent to Gariyaband with 26% adivasi population and ‘Tiger Reserve’ with substantially dense forest. The district known for rice production, rice mills and reservoirs have substantial forest base in Nagri-Sihava block inhibited by Kamar tribes lives in wretched condition. 

KHOJ visioning to transform the life of Kamar and other Adivasis, initiated many programmes in the above area by making forest dweller’s community aware of their community rights on Forest, its benefits and its overall impact on their lives.  

 

About the Project:  

The proposed project intended to address the gaps exist in implementation of legislations, like FRA and PESA, which have strong potential to provide the forest dependent adivasi community access and control to natural resources and to strengthen their livelihood to improve their standard of life. 

To achieve the level of awareness among the community and their institutions various trainings, workshops and meetings has been conducted. Strengthening Forest Rights Committees to assist the community and Gram Sabha to file the claims and part of process of verification is one of the key strategy. The project at  limited extent attempting to sort out injustice happened at household level through motivate the community and the FRCs to take action for rectifying the IFR titles. 

The project has initiated addressing the gaps in implementation of Act by enabling the community to prepare their community claims and to submit them to the concerned authorities.

Results to be Achieved: The proposed project is aimed at enabling the adivasi forest dweller community to practice their rights of having control over natural resources for conservation, protection and management of natural resources and also enhancement of their livelihood. 

To aware the community, particularly Kamar Adivasi forest dwellers on their right to natural resources enshrined in legislations like FRA, PESA and enabling legislations like MGNREGA. 

To empower community institutions, like Gram Sabha, Forest Rights Committees, and community forest management committees to govern and practice control over natural resources.  

To seek accountability from enforcement agencies accountable for facilitating rights of the community over natural resources, including forest rights. 

To develop greater community interface with government agencies to ensure increase in public investment for strengthening natural resource based livelihood.

 

Prior Achievements:

KHOJ has built the capacity of the community in a way that they have started protection of forest, which they claimed under CFR in 9 villages of Gatabharri, Thenhi, Daund Pandripani, Arjuni, Chargaon and Junwani in Nagari block, and Kamepur, Bodapala and Jarandi in Gariyaband. Also, Sec 4(1)e committee under FRA has been constituted in 13 villages, which has mandate to develop the plan for protection and conservation of forest resources falls under traditional limit of their village.

A total of 1164 families got the individual forest rights due to the effort of KHOJ in these villages, while 563 rejected claims have been submitted for revision.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

“We have to struggle much to file the claim on forest, we have been dependent for generations. KHOJ helped us trained in filing and verifying claims. We learnt how the FRA works, we felt empowered to ask the Sub-Divisional officer about the information required for filing the claims, however, forest department pressurize us at site verification. We are determined to claim our rights and manage our forest for better future of our children.””--- Mahesh Thakur (village leader & former President, FRC, Gatabharri)

 

Case Studies/Human stories: 

Bade Gobra, a small village surrounded with forested hills, streams and lush green forest of Sal and mixed flora, is habitation of 183 families, largely inhabited by Kamar. 

Just three year ago, when KHOJ started working in Gobra village, the community was reluctant to work under MGNREGS. Since, the work was available for very few days, and wages are withheld for too long. People prefer to go for other work as it gave them immediate payment, but it lead to exploitation, low wages, and no return to the village. KHOJ intervene into the matter, organized them to demand adequate work under the scheme. Job card was made for 179 families. More work poured in, and there comes the wages, thought bit delayed. They still suffer, since it is mandatory to have payment through bank account, and they have to walk through frequently to Mainpur to enquire about payment. 

KHOJ made them to develop a micro-plan for conservation of natural resources and enhancing livelihood. Whole village sat together and through participatory rural appraisal made a plan and got it sanctioned through their Gram Sabha, Janpad Panchayat and the district authorities. From then onward, the Gobra have received MGNREGS work at neck-break speed. For last year, work for 100 days had been sanctioned for all eligible members of job-card holders for conservation and development of village. This has created a history within two years, number of days of work increased from zero to 150, bringing Rs 40 Lakh a year into the village, and that too to increase the productivity of land and forest. 

Kamars have their life dependent on forest, but more on bamboo. Bamboo is part of their life. Their huts, courtyard, utensils, bridges, everywhere bamboo make its presence felt. It gives them sense of pride and income too, but their forest rapidly depleted of bamboo. Worried with state of affairs, the community decided to plant as much saplings of bamboo possible in open land. KHOJ again came forward to arrange the samplings, community made their plan to develop the plantation. 59 members in 3 CBOs planted saplings in 9 acres of Land. In every week, members from four family take responsibility to guard the plantation. A total of 3000 saplings planted are now evident in Bade Gobra.