Jamguda gram sabha in Kalahandi was on Sunday issued transit pass to sell the harvested bamboo legally under the provision of the Forest Regulation Act 2006.
This is second such initiative in the country with the first one being in Mendhalika village under Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
Jamguda gram sabha comprising 64 families had been given community forest rights in 64 hectares of land where villagers had grown bamboo and harvested it in June last year. But the State Government had not issued transit pass to the gram sabha to sell the bamboo in spite of a letter of Union Tribal Affairs Minister KC Deo to the Chief Minister. As a result, bamboo worth `80,000 was destroyed causing loss to the village.
On Sunday, in presence of Deo, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patra, local MP Bhakta Charan Das handed over the official transit pass to the villagers for selling bamboo. Das symbolically purchased the harvested bamboo after handing over the transit pass to villagers.
“Need of the hour is tribal welfare and women empowerment. There is a wrong notion among many that Forest Rights Act is against the tribal dwellers. As far as tribal welfare is concerned, the Government should ensure ‘nasha mukti’ and ‘Naxal mukti’ campaign in tribal-inhabitated regions,” said Jairam. Deo assured that the Central Government would henceforth ensure that the primary collectors of non-timber forest produce (NTFP) are provided the minimum support price (MSP). “There have been allegations that primary collectors of NTFP are not getting MSP for their products,” he said.
Terming it as an historical event, Das said handing over community resources to people at grassroot level will bring in a transformation in their socio-economic condition.
Social activist Sudhansu Sekhar Deo, who has been fighting for the cause of tribal families in Jamguda, said issuing transit pass to the gram sabha will in a way strengthen forest conservation.