Maharashtra Denies Habitat Rights to the Most Backward Tribal Communities
In January 2016, a decade after the Forest Rights Act (FRA) was passed by Parliament, 60 gram sabhas in Khutgaon, Gadchiroli, became the first forest-dwelling people in Maharashtra to file a claim for habitat rights. These people are part of a community called Madia Gond, classified as a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG). Almost three years since their claims were submitted, since also approved by the authorised body, they are yet to receive their legal titles.
PVTG is a subcategory of scheduled tribes (ST), characterised by a pre-agricultural level of technology, stagnant or declining population, extremely low literacy rate and subsistence level of economy. There are 75 listed PVTGs in India; Maharashtra has three: Katkaria or Kathodi in Thane and Raigad districts, Kolam in Yavatmal district and Madia Gond in Gadchiroli district. Among STs, the PVTGs have distinct societies and cultures rooted in their territories and forests. Most PVTGs are known to identify themselves as part of a larger clan of villages of the same community, with large and shared bio-cultural territories. These territories or habitats provide livelihood and resources as well as social and spiritual significance. Read more
Courtesy: The Wire