Extensive amendment to forest law will dehumanise forests

Down To Earth | Ishan Kukreti | April 18, 2019

As 300 million forest dwellers across India heaved a sigh of relief after the Supreme Court stayed its own order to evict encroachers on February 28 this year, the Union government was sharpening its axe with a new amendment to the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927. On March 7, a document marked “secret” landed on the desks of forest chiefs in all states. It was sent by Noyal Thomas, India’s Inspector General of Forests (forest policy), and it contained a proposal to replace IFA, the colonial Act. For the first time, a calculated move was being made to dismantle the community-driven forest governance and strengthen the hands of the forest bureaucracy. Read more

States to address tribal forest rights after Lok Sabha elections 2019

The New Indian Express | April 15, 2019

In an interim order on February 13, the Supreme Court had directed 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose forest rights claims were rejected by state authorities.

NEW DELHI: After the states missed the 15-day deadline to submit data on the rejection of forest rights claims in March, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has decided to collect phase-wise data, depending on when the Lok Sabha polls conclude in the states.

In an interim order on February 13, the Supreme Court had directed 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose forest rights claims were rejected by state authorities. Later, the apex court stayed the order. Read more

How to kill a forest

The Hindu | Soumya Sarkar | April 13, 2019

On a fine morning in the spring of 1974, a small girl ran to Gaura Devi, raising an alarm that loggers had come to cut down trees in the mountain forest. On that day (March 25), there were no men present in the remote village of Reni in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Gaura Devi gathered the women in the village and rushed to confront the contractor.

An argument ensued. The men with axes refused to budge. But the women of Reni were not to be cowed down. In a flash of inspiration, they decided to hug the trees and the loggers had not option but to leave. It was a high point in an epochal environmental movement that resonates even today, at a time when new moves are afoot to separate India’s forests from her people. Read more

Demand to implement FRA gains momentum in Mandi

The Tribune | April 12, 2019

As the nation goes to polls for its 17th Lok Sabha elections, Himachal’s geographically largest constituency Mandi comprising Kinnaur, Bharmour, Lahaul Spiti, Kullu and Mandi districts is witnessing the demand for implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.

A massive rally was taken out today on this issue under the banner of Van Adhikar Manch, Himachal Pradesh, at the district headquarters Mandi. The office-bearers of the manch alleged that the state government is reluctant to implement Forest Rights Act (FRA) in full spirit. As a result, people of the state have been deprived of their rights under the FRA. Read more

Disenchanted Surjagad flaunts NOTA

The Hindu | Sharad Vyas | April 10, 2019

Nearly 25,000 voters to register protest against iron ore mining on forestland

A day after Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhima Mandavi was killed by Maoists in Dantewada, 70 gram sabhas along the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border have announced they will choose the NOTA, or none of the above, option in the Lok Sabha election on Thursday.

An estimated 25,000 voters living around the iron ore deposits of Surjagad in remote Gadchiroli took this decision in protest against the Maharashtra government’s approval of iron ore mining on 40,900 acres of forestland and the increased “militarisation” of 70 gram sabhas in the Etapalli tehsil, having a population of 81,700 spread over 180 villages in the highly sensitive security zone. Read more

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