Odisha: Badibari Gram Sabha takes over its Cashew forest using FRA, 2006

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Nuagaon:Badibari Gram Sabha, a small Kandha tribal village in Nuagaon Block of Nayagarh district organized a special gram sabha on 11 Feb and decided to take over the Cashew forest falling within its Community Forest Resource(CFR) area recognised under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. In the gram sabha meeting, all the members of the gram sabha resolved to control and manage its cashew forest including forest area.
It is to be noted that from last 2006 despite formal auction of Cashew forest by Odisha Cashew Corporation and Odisha Forest Development Corporation, many tribal villages including village Badibari of Odisha empowered by the historic FRA, 2006 have taken over their cashew forest land and have earned huge profits. All the families of the village are collecting cashew nut collectively and sharing the profits equally.
Presiding over the gram sabha meeting, Indramani Mallik, senior member of the Badibari Gram Sabha shared the objective of the meeting and said “Despite our continuous protest from last 11 years of FRA, the Govt. of Odisha continue to leasing out our cashew forest to the outsider non-tribals who are coming to our village with goons and threatening us. We want to ask Govt. of Odisha whose forest is it ?, whom it has consulted before leasing out our cashew forest ”
Calling it as mindless work of the Odisha Govt. he said, “Our forefathers had cleaned the forest and settled the village and named the village and were cultivating the area and leading a peaceful life. But Govt. people came and urged them to plant cashew trees saying that once it would give fruits it would be yours and you would have usufructuary rights over it. But latter on when fruits came it handed over it to the Cashew Corporation and Odisha Forest Development Corporation which started giving auction to outsider non-tribal depriving our genuine rights over that land.”
“In between we have approached Tahasildar, district collector, tribal Secretary Govt. of Odisha but have failed to get justice. We have also met the authority of the Odisha Cashew Corporation and Odishja Forest Development Corporation and have raised our objections but have failed to get justice till date. Recently, the community has also sought direction from the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) to the Collector.” He alleged.
Mr. Sashi Pradhan who is playing a crucial role in mobilizing the community in the area joining the gram sabha meeting said. “Like Badibari many tribal villages in the locality have ascertained ownership rights over cashew forest since last ten years, They have also filed their Community forest rights claims over such areas but it is unfortunate that even after passing of 11 years of FRA implementation in the State, The Nayagarh district administration have failed to recognize their genuine rights.”
Joining in the gram sabha meeting, Dr. Manohar Chauhan shared various empowered provisions of FRA, 2006 with the members of the gram sabha and said “besides FRA, 2006, Govt. of Odisha through its Agriculture Department on 31st July 2008 had decided to give usufructuary rights to tribal and dalit families over such cashew grown land but leaving some districts like Koraput and Gajapati, it has failed to execute this decision till date in other districts. He also emphasized to bring such cashew grown area over revenue and forest land under CFR rights duly recognized under FRA” He called upon the gram sabha members of all villages to establish Gram Sabha Sarkar in the village and to forms Forest Protection and Management Committee , the executive committee exclusively consisting of its own members to execute the decisions of the gram sabha sarkar.
In the gram sabha meeting many community leaders from nearby villages having same cashew landproblems,i.e.,Mandiha,Similisahi,Jakada,Kaptapali,Gholakbadi,Bamudi,Anabanka,Phampudi,Gumi,Jamusahi,Kesenda of Nuagaon Block,Kadalaipalli, Gochha, Belargadi, Bachhpur, Bhabasara, Saliajhari of Odagaon Block, Surkabadi, Sinduria, Kodalpalli of Ranpur Block joined in the gram sabha meeting. At the end of the gram sabha meeting Upendra Mallik, the ward member of the village gave vote of thanks to all guests coming from outside. All these villages are now organizing themselves and planning for a big meeting inviting all local political leaders and Govt. officials and to dissolve the VSS formed under JFM Resolution 1990s.
The Village Badibari
The revenue village Badibari is surrounded by revenue village Talajori, Kandhakhamoda and Similisahi viilge from the East, Durungi revenue village from the West and revenue village Bariamba in the North and Karchuli and Jalkada revenue village from the South. Besides, Kiragachha forest which falls in the Rangamatia reserve forest of Mahipur forest Range falls in the North side of the village.
As per the Census 2011, there are in total 35 families having 150 population (80 males and 70 females) in the village. As per land records, the last survey and settlement was done in the 1980s and in total 533.96 acres of community land is available in the village including ( 29 khata no(AJA) having 156 plots and 99.47 acres, 30 Khanta(AAA) No having 4 plots and 14.05 acres, 31 Khata(sarba Sadharana) having 8 plots and 3.49 acres and 32 Khanta(Rakhita Anabadi) having 416. 95 acres of forest Land. Out of the 533.96 acres of community land available, 68% (364.72 acres) per cent is revenue forest land.. Besides, Mahipur reserve forest is adjacent and spread over East to South in the village. In their CFR area, they have good amount of Banboo which is being defined as minor forest produce under FRA, 2006.

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