Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Forest policies needs to be Inclusive (of tribals)

Reports states that forest department evicted tribals living in hamlets inside the forest. These tribals – belonging to ‘Gotti Koya’ community – fled to these woods (Govindraopet mandal of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district) to escape violence in naxal hit areas of neighboring Chhattisgarh. According to tribals, their hamlets were burned down; as per DFO and District Collector they were simply evicted.
In DFO's own words, "They have been felling very large trees for cultivation, which is not good for forest. We, along with the District Collector, visited the hamlet and tried to convince them to shift to an alternative location outside the forest. But they lack gratitude and are hell bent on having this land for cultivation".

In these times when hardly any pristine forest left in many parts of India, it is very important to protect whatever is remaining. But the question is, where the tribals fit in? Aren't they part of the same forest? Isn't it our responsibility to consider tribals living in forest for generations while creating forest laws? If they are clearing the jungles and destroying the ecosystem, I can understand the need for eviction. Even then, I strongly believe Forest and Revenue department have more resources and power to control the unhealthy practices like shifting cultivation etc.

What I believe is, if tribals want to live in forest without destroying it, then let them live there. While creating and implementing policies we should consider tribals as part of ecosystem; not some groups who bent on destroying it. What you think?



1. Foresters burn down tribal village - The Hindu

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