Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
Two recent developments augur well for the forest dwellers of Madhya Pradesh. Firstly, under the Joint Forest Management plan, forest protection committees in villages will now receive all revenue collected from selling timber and bamboo. And secondly, the MP government has decided to deregulate the trade of minor forest produce...
two recent developments augur well for the forest dwellers of Madhya Pradesh (mp). Firstly, under the joint forest management plan (jfm), forest protection committees in the villages will now receive all revenue collected from selling timber and bamboo. And secondly, the mp government has decided to deregulate the trade of minor forest produce (mfp). The significance of the latter can be gauged from the fact that 80 per cent of the people inhabiting the state's forests depend on mfp collection for their livelihood.
The state government bypassed intense opposition from forest officials to implement the new revenue sharing plan under jfm . Until now, the village bodies used to get 10 per cent of the timber revenue and 20 per cent of the proceeds from bamboo sales. The recent decision would, therefore, boost the earnings of the forest protection committees considerably. mp is India's first state to take such a step under jfm .
During the past two years, the government had given only Rs 37 crore to the panels. But under the new plan, their annual share would be Rs 150 crore. While the forest department would keep 16 per cent of the revenue for spending on the jfm programme, 20 per cent will be handed over to the forest protection committees that manage 'good forests' (with crown density of more than 40 per cent) under jfm . The remaining 64 per cent of the share would be distributed among the three jfm committees. The committees are the village forest committees managing degraded forests, the eco-development committees around protected areas such as sanctuaries and the forest protection committees. This translates into extra income for the forest protection committees. The committees would also have the autonomy to decide on how to spend the money.
The state cabinet's move on mfp will enable free trade between the gatherers (mostly tribal forest dwellers) and traders. As per this decision, flora varieties such as harra , baheda , amla , chironji , mahulpatta and mohua have been struck off the nationalised mfp list. However, the state government has not deregularised tendu leaf, sal seeds and kullu gum. "As the sal borer pest has launched a vicious onslaught, we didn't want to touch the sal dominant forests now," explains Ram Prasad, principal chief conservator of forests, mp .
Importantly, no transit permit would henceforth be required for the transportation of these six mfp s. This would eliminate the corrupt practices associated with the issuing of these passes. "Ideally it should benefit traders, who in turn would pass on some of the advantage to the primary collectors of forest produce -- the tribal residents of forests," says Prasad.
The state government has also decided to drop half a million pending cases against mfp collectors and forest residents. These cases are chiefly related to the collection and transportation of the produce. "Most of these cases were petty. People were forced to take to illegal ways as the regulations were hurdles to their livelihood," says an official. According to a statement from the office of the state chief minister Digvijay Singh, who was responsible for this decision, the step was taken to bring the original inhabitants of forests closer to their livelihood and to involve them in forest protection management.