NIRMAN, Deogarh Zilla Jungal Manch organised workshop on Forest Rights Act

Deogarh : A district level workshop on Forest Rights Act, 2006 was organised by voluntary organisation NIRMAN and Deogarh Zilla Jungal Manch at DRDA Conference Hall, Deogarh on Saturday, October 26, 2019. It was attended by more than one hundred participants, which included Forest Rights Committee members, PRI members, Government Officers, Representatives of the Civil Society and Media persons.

Shri Banamali Bhunya, District Welfare Officer, inaugurated the workshop. Ms Kshama Sarangi, DFO, Deogarh, Mr. Barada Sankar Soren, Special Officer, Paudi Bhunya Development Agency (PBDA), Rugudakudar, Mr Sudhansu Sekhar Deo, Independent Researcher, Bhubaneswar Mr Barna Baibhab Panda, Sr. Programme Manager, FES, Bhubaneswar, Mr Hiradhara Sahu, Convenor of Zilla Jungle Mancha, Deogarh were the other important dignitaries in workshop.

Speaking on the aims and significance of the workshop, Mr Prasant Mohanty, Executive Director of NIRMAN explained how FRA, 2006, a historic legislation could help to democratize forest governance by vesting legal forest rights to Tribal and other traditional forest dwelling communities over their customarily used forestland and Community Forest Resources and making the communities responsible for sustainable use, conservation and governance of these resources. He also highlighted the historic community rights vested to Tribal and other traditional dwellers over there.

Issues relating to the rejection of IFR and CFR was discussed among the participants and necessary clarification was made. Besides, interaction was held with regard to generating an awareness among the community members on forest protection and their responsibility on the participatory forest management. DFO and DWO had opined that they would extend all their cooperation to the FRC members, most importantly during the time of joint verification of CFR claims. They also reiterated that community member needs to follow the guidelines of sustainable harvesting protocol while collecting the NTFP items from the forest, as the local people are also responsible for conservation of the forest environment and biodiversity.

In the afternoon session, the Community Leaders shared their views and various challenges of the IFR and CFR claims. The Government Officers and the Resource Persons had suggested that most of the challenges will be sorted out if there will be a better coordination between the associated Government departments and FRC members with the help of Facilitating Agencies. It was also discussed that through FRA the community has been empowered with the right of collecting minor forest produce like mahua, tola, kendu leaf etc. and sell them.

Among others Mr Ranjan Kumar Sahu, Social Activist, Deogarh, Mr Suresh Chandra Bisoyi, Programme Director, NIRMAN and Mr Santosh Kumar Parida, Programme Officer, NIRMAN were present in the workshop. The workshop ended with a formal vote of thanks to all participants.

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