Forest Rights Act (FRA)

Tribals have been residing in forest land for generations, cultivating and collecting forest produce like firewood and fruits. They, however, do not have a legal document showing that they are owners of the land. Ever since the Forest Conservation Act, these tribals have been seen as encroachers or illegal occupants. After the enactment of the Act, these tribals will now have the legal right to own, collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce. This is expected to undo the historical injustice done to forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes who were living at the whims of the forest department, so far. – The Indian Express, 2 January 2008

Tip: more posts with information on India’s forest legislation are found on this website (in reverse chronological order): Forest Rights Act (FRA) | Illegal mining >>

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“Once, I was walking with this young tribal girl through the forest and we stumbled upon a tuber. She plucked it, cut the eye of the tuber and buried it in the mud before taking it to be cooked. I asked her why she did so and she replied ‘If I don’t put it back, how will it grow again?’ and that moment made me realise how sensitive tribals are towards environment and nature. For them, putting back what they take is inherent in their culture and lifestyle.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara (writer and Co-Founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris) | Learn more >>

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