“Tribal communities have proven that they are the best guardians of the forest and die-hard conservationists”: Illegal mining destroys the life and culture of the conservators of forests

“Cultivating and conserving diversity is no luxury in our times: it is a survival imperative.” – Vandana Shiva >>

The forest department’s move to aggressively promote commercial plantation activities on community forest land in the name of compensatory afforestation is usurping the forest rights of the tribal communities. […]

The impact of CAMPA among the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) is devastating. They can no longer cultivate millets, pulses and cereals, which affects their self-sufficiency. For instance, the Kutia Kondh community in Kandhamal used to cultivate 22 varieties of traditional millets, but the monoculture plantations have diminished the seed diversity they had nurtured across generations.

Prashant Sahu, a Kandhamal-based local journalist revealed that as much as “about 60 % of plantations in Odisha are of commercial species. This neither benefits local communities nor naturally restores the forests.” […]

Under the CAMPA Act, the gram sabha is required to give its consent for afforestation. What is happening in Odisha is just the opposite. The Act is alienating it from the decision-making process when it comes to the management of natural resource management in tribal areas.

The way out: involving tribal communities in forest management

As far as the regeneration of degraded forests is concerned, there are any number of examples in Odisha where tribal communities have proven that they are the best guardians of the forest and die-hard conservationists. […]

Source: “Odisha’s Tribal Communities Are Reeling Under a Land Grab Project Masquerading as ‘Afforestation'” by Abhijit Mohanty (The Wire, 23 July 2020)
URL: https://thewire.in/rights/odisha-kandhamal-forest-rights-tribals
Date Visited: 26 February 2022

Illegal mining in forests is destroying the life and culture of schedule tribes, opined Dr H Sudarshan, director of Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra.

He was speaking at national seminar on ‘Tribes and Analogous People in India: Contemporary Issues’ on the occasion of International Day of World’s Indigenous People. […]

Certain people are looting the natural resources in forests. However, with this daylight robbery continuing unabated, scheduled tribes who are the conservators of forests are leaving for urban areas.

He also said that scheduled tribes have their own unique art and culture. But atrocities are being committed against them, and there are no constitutional provisions for their protection, he observed.

Dr Sudarshan observed that access to primary health care centres is very difficult for tribes. There have been no genuine attempts to integrate modern medicine with traditional medicine, he remarked. He stressed on the need for increasing the number of health centres in tribal areas.

Last year, employment under the MGNREGS was a source of livelihood for many tribals. However due to corruption, that has been stopped this year. Explaining the plight of tribes due to the naxal menace, he said that Scheduled Tribes are caught in between the police and naxals. He said that utmost commitment is needed to solve the problem.

Commending the Chief Minister’s initiative in providing ownership of land to tribes, he said that a programme is organised at the end of this month to distribute the title deeds for the beneficiaries. […]

Source: “Mining destroying tribal culture”, Deccan Herald, 9 August 2010
URL: www.deccanherald.com/content/87432/mining-destroying-tribal-culture.html
Date Visited: 26 February 2022

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“Tribals are subject to oppression and cruelty even after independence and still picked up by the investigating officers to cover up shoddy investigations.” – D.Y. Chandrachud (Chief Justice of India since 9 November 2022) quoted in “Members of De-Notified Tribes Picked Up to Cover Up Shoddy Investigations” | Learn more >>

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Learn from M S Swaminathan – a world renowned scientist – how biological diversity contributes to public health, people’s livelihood and environmental security in addition to food security: his call on fellow citizens to use and share resources in a more sustainable and equitable manner; outlining the long journey from the 1992 Earth Summit to a commitment to foster inherited knowledge through India’s Biodiversity Act and Genome Saviour Award; an award intended to reward those who are “primary conservers” – guardians of biological diversity!

More about the work of his foundation which “aims to accelerate use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.” – www.mssrf.org | Regarding the issues of food security raised above, and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets, read an in-depth report that concludes that “the tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious” >>

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Search tips: in the search field seen below, combine the name of any particular state, language or region with that of any tribal (Adivasi) community; add keywords of special interest (health, nutrition endangered language, illegal mining, sacred grove); learn about the rights of Scheduled Tribes such as the Forest Rights Act (FRA); and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women’s rights, and children’s right to education; specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, bonded labour and human trafficking, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, Himalayan tribe, hunter-gatherers in a particular region or state, prevention of rural poverty, water access).

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Learn more about water-related issues that affect India’s tribal communities >>
“National development and the development of tribal communities are linked to each other.” – Droupadi Murmu | Speeches by the 15th President of India >>

“Together, we must endeavour to strengthen tribal communities which are the role model in preservation of water, forest and land, and learn from their connection with nature and the surrounding environment for the sake of the entire human race.” – journalist and tribal rights activist Dayamani Barla in The Wire >>

“If we take action, the right action – as the report [on Biological Diversity] proposes – we can transition to a sustainable planet.” […] Many good things are happening around the world and these should be celebrated and encouraged […] We have to act now. It is not too late. Otherwise, our children and grandchildren will curse us because we will leave behind a polluted, degraded and unhealthy planet.” – Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary, UN Convention on Biological Diversity – “Extinction: Urgent change needed to save species, says UN”, BBC News, 15 September 2020 >>

“Extinction: Urgent change needed to save species, says UN”
Watch the video on BBC News | More about Biodiversity in India >>

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