Govt. urged to give Tendu Rights to Gram Sabhas-VJAS
NAGPUR: 2nd feb. 2013
“The recent announcement of senior officials in forest ministry that to give check and mate answer against arm-twisting tactics by contractors, who did not submit a single offer for tendu leaves' auction in first round on Thursday, that the state government will give units to gram sabhas has been welcomed by tendu leavers workers advocacy group Vidarbha Janandon samiti (VJAS) who has been fighting with forest deptt. and forced to distribute Tendu royalty as bonus but if Tendu units are given Gram Sabhas then that will real restoration on minor forest produce (MFP) rights to the tribal as per the spirit of Panchayat Raj constitutional amendment 1986 hence Govt. should give up it’s rights over minor forest produce like tendu without using this as tool to control agitating tendu contractors opposing the condition about kindling of fires in tendu units.” Kishore Tiwari of VJAS informed in press release today.
The Tendu contractors boycott to tendu units auction in annual affairs since 1996in order get relaxation in stringent condition states that if spread of fire in particular unit is beyond one hectare, the auction in such units will be cancelled with immediate effect and the earnest money deposit (EMD) will be forfeited.VJAS has welcome view of Pravin Pardesi who is principal secretary of forest deptt. that government won't withdraw fire condition, instead it will give auction to each gram sabha if contractors do not take it. The auction is being held for 457 tendu units.
In fact the existing Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996, and the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, entrust the rights of MFP with the gram sabha and the forest dwellers respectively. But in most states, the government controls the trade of major MFPs such as tendu leaves, sal seeds and mahua flowers which in against rights of tribal and gram sabha but forest dept. is not ready give up creating more complex problems hence such initiative of giving tendu units to Gram Sabha is good step and Maharashtra should go ahead as there is massive corruption in tendu bonus distribution which will empower the gram sabha too hence in tribal dominated districts like chandrapur and Yavatmal will have lager impact to curb on going naxal menace too, hence this is right step at right time even tendu contractors on going boycott has given birth top it, Tiwari added.