Bamboo Liberation Day

Published: Wednesday 27 April 2011

Rural communities win right over bamboo, finally

Environment minister warns of legal action if forest officials refuse transit passes

medhaA large crowd gathered at Mendha Lekha village in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district in the morning on April 27 to witness a historic event. The state forest department handed over a transit passbook to the village community leader Devaji Tofa, signifying the village gram sabha would henceforth exercise the power to issue transit passes for selling bamboo harvested from the nearby forests.
Read full story>>
sunita ji
Who stands were
As the D-day arrives and bamboo is all set to attain liberation and Mendha Lekha to become the first village in India to exercise its community right to harvest and freely sell bamboo under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) we take a look where the key players in this fight stand.
Prithiviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister, Maharashtra

PrithivirajOn April 25, Chavan took a review meeting of the forest department to discuss modalities of handing over of bamboo rights to community and also the transit passes. The meeting came immediately after forest department objected to the handing over the right to harvest and sell bamboo as “illegal”. Now the modalities are sorted out.
  Jairam Ramesh,
  Union Environment Minister

Jairam RameshBacking the bamboo transfer strongly he wrote back to Maharshtra CM saying, “Minor Forest Produce is a ownership right vested by Parliament under Forest Rights Act and all state authorities are obliged to respect this provision.”

After meeting with the chief minister it agreed to handover transit passes to communities but with conditions. “Certain conditions have to be met under the Act to ensure transit passes are given to the gram sabha such as drawing up of management plans for commercial extraction of bamboo and notifying area where bamboo can be harvested. We have now given directives to local officials to ensure that to institutionalise this change,” said Anna Dani, state forest secretary.

On April 26, the forest department asked the villagers to pay Rs 10,000 for two books of transit passes. Every transit pass now costs Rs 100. This remains unclear whether this is a permanent levy which communities will have to pay. For smaller users the transit pass cost will be higher than the bamboo itself.
medhaMendha Lekha

The village which has been fighting for decades to get community rights over forest produces eagerly waits for the transit passes.
The unfolding story
April 27, is an important day for Mendha Lekha. On this day, bamboo will attain its liberation and Mendha Lekha will become the first village in India to exercise its community right to harvest and freely sell bamboo under the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

See full story>>
Bamboo spread and usage at a glance

See full story>>
Author(s): Sunita Narain
Posted on: 15 December 2010
Author(s): Sunita Narain
Posted on: 16 April 2011
Mendha Lekha's struggle for bamboo rights
The road for obtaining community right to harvest and sell bamboo freely has not been easy for the village. It has awaited for almost two years for this glory

See full story>>
DTE reportage on bamboo
19 years of reportage on minor forest produce and tribal rights

See full story>>


Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.