Tribals still denied right on minor forest produce

Problems galore

 Marapachi (Passe)

The article 3 (c) of chapter II of the Tribal Forest Rights Act, allows tribals to gather minor forest resources or collect like honey, ginger, shikakai and various types of herbs, herbal plants and its products like Magaliberu, Mutthugad Ele, Marapachi (passe) and other 28 type of forest produce. So far, the government has failed to implement the clause and give tribals their natural right. The apathy of the State Government and officials of the forest department has led to the tribals going without livelihood in Bandipur, B R Hills region and other forest areas in the region.

Except for the allotment of land, the Government has showed little concern in extending the clause of the Tribal Forest Rights Act that gives tribals their due rights. According to estimates, the tribals can accrue 60 per cent of their income through minor forest produces. Prior to amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act in 2003 banning collection of forest resources for financial gain, the tribals supplied forest products to the state government owned co-operative society, Lamps. The yearly turn over of the LAMPS was ` 1.5 crore and the amount was shared equally between the government and the tribal members of the society who supply the products and raw materials.

However, the restoration of forest rights through the Tribal Forest Rights Act in 2006 gave a hope to the tribals to go to their roots and find a descent living again. But, the delay on the part of the state government has shattered the hopes of the tribals. In BRT sanctuary and the Bandipur region, there is no effort to provide work for the tribals under the National rural employment guarantee scheme. The tribals like Soligas are now moving out of their places to coffee estates in Madikeri and other areas for daily wage work. C Madegowda, secretarty of Tribal Community Association has urged the government to implement the Act in all its spirit in order to allow tribals to eke out a living in their place.

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