Kaptapally village in Nayagarh women forest protection groups Launch Forest Rights Information Centre

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Nayagarh: On Tuesday, under the canopy of the forest that they have managed, conserved and regenerated for the past 7 years, the women of Kaptapally village in nuagaon block, of Nayagarh district launched/inagurated the second Forest Rights Information Centre. The Centre serves as an important resource hub for the long struggle of this forest dwelling community to gain recognition of rights over their customary forests under the Forest Rights Act. It will be run by the same women who have spearheaded innovative community forest management practices in the area, conserving and protecting a large area of ‘very dense forest’ .

The community forest management group in Ranpur block has a long history of democratic forest protection and management. In the 1980s, witnessing grave degradation of their forests under Joint Forest Management, several villages in the area wrestled back control from the Forest Department to set up Community Forest Management. They harnessed their intimate traditional knowledge of the forest and plant species to increase the forest cover, bring streams back to life, and rebuild the natural habitat of elephants. The women particularly, stand guard over the forests at night, with a stick in hand, against timber thieves. For them, recognition of their forest rights would be not only their reward for conserving the forest, but also an insurance plan for the forest against degradation. They had claimed their rights in 2015 but are yet to gain formal recognition. Similarly there are 24 villages in ranpur block where same protection process is going on for last 40 years ave claimed CFR(community forest resource rights) since last two and a half years and still striving to get recognition .

At the inauguration of the Information Centre, women of kaptapally village and women of neighbouring 20 villages have invited the Collector of Nayagarh Shri Arindam Dakua,MP Smt.Pratyusha Rajeswari singh,zilla Parishad members ,Sarpanch and Samitisabhya . The Ranpur women used this opportunity to remind him of his duty to approve their claims under the Forest Rights Act. Empowered by 30 years of community forest management, the women are confident about the democratic powers of the Gram Sabha to even resort to self-declaration under the Forest Rights Act if the forest bureaucracy does not cooperate. And now they have their own repository of Gram Sabha resolutions, claim forms, books on FRA and Rules and other resources to support them in their struggle.

In this Occasion collector Shri Dakua given assurance to the community “CFR rights will be recognized in next month ” and “All recognized IFR title will be demarcated”.

Listening to the women group Smt.Pratyusha also conveyed her support to these women groups in their future initiatves and to look after their issues .

women members are now awaiting for their long pending CFR to be recognized and from today onwards this FRA information centre will also be witness to their struggle and effort .

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