Common nightmares

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- In India, out of a land area of 330 million ha, only cultivated. The remaining areas of forests, woodlands, grasslands, marshes, rivers, lakes and shorelines are common property resources (CPRs). (All data is based on the most comprehensive analysis of CPRs available).

These commons provide rural people food, medicine, fuel and fodder up to 20 to 25 per cent of their annual income: 20 to 30 million people, mainly tribals, depend exclusively on the commons.

But exploitation by timber contractors, land privatisation and encroachments by cultivators are killing the commons. Women now have to travel further to collect fuel and fodder.

Moreover, the degradation has also changed livestock farming patterns: there is a decline in the number of cows and bullocks, and an increase in the number of sheep and goats, which survive better on degraded lands. But the demand for buffalo milk helped them increase.

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