Better Livelihood, Better Ecology – a case study in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra
In spite of the law recognizing traditional forest dwellers’ rights to own land, 63% of districts in the state of Maharashtra have zero compliance. However, Gadchiroli district is the only exception.
The Forest Rights Act, 2006 recognizes forest dwellers’ rights to own and govern forest land in their possession. The thrust of the Act is to ensure local and self governance of the forest rights by the community. With the forest being an invaluable resource, procuring land titles has been met with reluctance by government officials thereby making the implementation of the law slow or uncertain. Despite hurdles such as claim process delays, Gadchiroli district is a shining example with 66% of the title claims already processed.
Constitutional victory for the gram sabha of Lavari
The Lavari Case Study provides an insight on how ninety odd households, all tribal, in a neglected corner of India created history by becoming the first Gram Sabha in the country who exercised their rights, as per the Community Forest Right conferred on the Gram Sabha of Lavari, and received compensation (of Rs 1 crore 11 lakhs) for diversion of forest land for non- forest related activity.