The Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the Forest Department to permit tribal communities to harvest withered bamboos from the forest area and sell it to generate small income for them.
The party’s Talavadi East Union members met at Talavadi on Monday and discussed various issues related to tribal rights and Forest Rights Act. The meeting was chaired by Kanakarai Nagarai in which S. Mohan Kumar, State Committee Member, and functionaries from Neithalapuram, Talamalai, Hasanur, Germalam and Thingalur panchayats took part.
A resolution passed in the meeting said most of the bamboo in the Sathyamangalam forest area had dried up and slanted. Usually, the life of bamboo was 40 years after which it started flowering, generating rice and slant. The resolution said most of the trees had generated rice and were falling. Once it was on the ground, termites attacked the bamboo after which it served no purpose. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tribal communities were facing a crisis and farming activities failed to help them. Also, they were unable to go for jobs to the plains. Since the forest area came under tiger reserve, the Forest Department was preventing them from collecting minor forest produce (MFP) also.
Bamboo was a grass and not a tree and was not consumed by wild animals. The Forest Right Act (FRA), 2006, allowed tribal communities to harvest green bamboo and utilise it. Hence, permission should be given to harvest the bamboo.
Mr. Mohan Kumar said as per the FRA, 2006, Community Forest Rights (CFR) was given to the tribal communities to collect MFP and Gram Sabha in the hamlets should pass a resolution of such rights and submit it to the sub-divisional level committee headed by Revenue Divisional Officer. The RDO would forward the application to the district-level committee headed by the District Collector.
“Once the rights are approved, communities can collect MFP without any trouble,” he added. But citing that Critical Tiger Habitats were yet to be demarcated in the tiger reserves, communities were denied their rights, he added.
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