Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ways to Dialogue..........

Annual river in Kumbhalgarh WLS
I do not know how to express my view today….I was in the field “Kumbhalgarh WLS” to share our research findings with local community called “Raika”. Raika is a community whose main occupation is livestock rearing especially sheep and goat rearing and they are traditionally dependent on the forest for their need.

View of Aravalli Hills

Garasia Tribal

Raika community

                            This workshop cum field visit was organized by an NGO called “Lok-hit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) that is working with Raikas for the welfare of this community in the vicinity of Kumbhalgarh WLS. Being with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) my colleague and I was asked to share our research as well as “what we are doing inside and outside the protected areas for the benefit of local communities and on conservation aspect”.  Other participants were from Kalpvriksh (NGO from Pune) and Sahjeevan (NGO from BHuj-Kachchh) along with few members of Maldhari community from Banni Grassland (Kachchh- Gujarat). This Maldhari community was invited to share their views about the conservation of grasslands in extreme western part of country. Apart from this they did share their notion about Forest Right Act (2006) and how they are managing their resources in sustainable manner.  
Grass potential of Kumbhalgarh WLS
Neema Pathak from Kalpvriksh was very clear in telling about the Forest Right Act, Individual Property Right (IPR) and Community Property Right (CPR).  Many things are very much clearly mentioned in the Act but some of the NGOs are trying to misinterpret the information available and the local community vivaciously grasping this information. It is so disheartening to see how the real facts are getting distorted!!!!! I wanted to tell many things but I didn’t find it as a suitable platform. Though, it was very difficult for me to keep myself quiet, and I did communicate with local community but in a different perspective. One thing which came up, was the management aspect, it’s not that local community cannot manage their resources but lack of collective efforts or you can say lack of UNITY is becoming a major problem.  Most of my friends think that these tribal and local communities are innocent people but increased impact of technology and politics has grown its root deeper at the village level and that is where their innocence is paying interest. Literate people are taking advantage of their innocence and lack of accord to earn their bread. It’s so ridiculous!

I am a wildlife biologist, I do care about the forest and practically I am against any type of developmental activities inside the forest, I do believe in natural flow of nutrient and natural regeneration of forest but on the other hand I do aware of the rights which are being asked by local community. Here comes my concern of transient the information, passing on the right information and in precise way should be the criteria in engaging these people with us. Dialogue with respective department and local community should be in agenda. If government has brought some Act for the welfare of the tribal community, then we all should join hands together towards the sustainable management and conservation of our resources.
Some of the NGOs are behaving like a rival of forest department. In this way the differences and clashes between the forest department and local community cannot be filled.  These NGOs should work like cement instead of working like a negative catalyst.  Overall these resources are all ours and it’s our duty to conserve these resources in sustainable manner. If economic growth is necessary for the country then same thing should apply for the tribal also and I don’t think anyone will deny this fact of economic and social uplifting of local and tribal community but in this social and economic uplifting one should never forget our environment and sustainable use of natural resources.  

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