Nayagarh: Tribals in 217 villages under Ranpur block of Nayagarh district have set an example in the matter of forest conservation and protection.
However, they alleged the state government has neglected them in the matter of their rights on forests and its resources. They alleged that they had been deprived of certificates on community forests rights.
People of these villages have decided to stage protests at the collectorate Friday over the issue. “As long as we are not assured of certificates on community forest rights, we will be carrying out protests,” they fumed.
In Ranpur area, people of these villages have long been protecting forests with practice of thengapali (guarding forests with lathis in hand).
They have formed a community forest resources management committee (CFRMC) to formally reclaim the forest lands that they have been protecting for generations. They have sought ownership of community forest resources (CFR) under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
They believe this will empower them with rights for protection, regeneration, conservation and management of forest resources. They observed that due to their efforts, forests in thousands of hectares had been protected and some forests were regenerated.
Arakshita Sahu, secretary of Maninag Jungle Surakhya Parishad, said out of 217 village community forests, 24 villages in Balabhadrapur, Talkani, Kulasar, Surukabadi and Bajrakot panchayats have rights to get certificate on rights and ownership of community forest resources.
“A division level committee has granted its approval for certificates in this regard. But certificates are not being issued by the forest department,” he added. Hence, people of 217 villages have decided to stage agitation near the Collector’s office.
Tribals have demarcated the traditional boundary of forests and demanded rights over community forest resources. They said their ancestors had been protecting forests and have a right to continue with the legacy in the forest conservation, they said.