CSE urges to ensure community rights over forests
By Bijay Mishra
As community right over forests is critical to sustenance of rural and forest communities and also for conservation of forests, Sunita Narain , DG , Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) – the prominent research and policy group on environment issues , urged the Govt to expedite and ensure Community Forest Resource Rights (CFRR) provision in the FRA to people .
Addressing a media workshop at Bhubaneswar on “ The Fight Over a Right“ , Sunita told that , “The government most expedite the process of democratizing forest governance and enabling communities in forest management by recognizing community rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) to make standing forests productive for people.
She further said the country is in “deep crisis” when it comes to natural calamities and disasters and that green areas in the cities need to be planned. Forests need to be viewed as a habitat of the tribal communities and forest conservation must be considered a way to build local livelihood. Narain said forests should be used as a source to soak up fossil fuel emissions and build local livelihood.
Forest communities are using the Community Forest Resource Rights (CFRR) provision in the FRA to reclaim their ownership rights.
Mr Richard Mahapatra,Managing Editor, Down To Earth elaborated the provisions of FRA and CFRR .
Mr Y Giri Rao , Executive Director, Vasundhara, elaborated legal hurdles in realisation of FRA’s full potential .
Among others the meeting was addressed by C R Bijoy Independent forest policy researcher,Mendha Lekha , Satish Gokulwar ,
Tushar Dash , Shuchita Jha , Zumbis & Shruti Mokashi
The earning from forests has slowed down migration from villages.
The participants journalist from all over the country along with Sunita Narain and CSE team visited the to Kodalpalli of Ranpur block,where Women lead the battle for forest rights.
After a decade of struggle, the women owned the rights over forests resources in 24 villages. Now it became their “source of livelihood” .
The CSE team along with Mr Soupano Banerjee , Senior Director, CSE Media Resource Centre coordinated the program.