Language errors can definitely pose problems, as villagers of 5 districts in the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra will testify. The misinterpretation of 2 Marathi words Zudpi Jungle in the records of the revenue and forest departments of the Maharashtra government -- resulting in their incongruous use in the amended Forest Conservation Act, 1980 -- has put the livelihood of scores of villagers at stake.
The words Zudpi Jungle, or grassland forests, mean that these lands are now classified as forest lands and their use is banned for any other purpose. Villagers now cannot collect fallen trees and wood for cooking or for other household use. Some 50,000 mine workers employed in the region are being rendered jobless as mining cannot take place there.
The records of only 5 districts -- Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, Wardha and Nagpur -- have this discrepancy. Moreover, most of these lands are actually barren lands with barely any trees but holding a wealth of minerals.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
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.