Deulahudi Villagers Map Their Claim Under Forest Rights Act

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Deulahudi, a small tribal village in Hrichandanpur Block of Keounjhar District n Odisha, India assembled for a participatory mapping exercise of their Community Forest Resources on 28th April 2013. The gathering was a field exercise carried out in their traditionally protected forest. The village is inhabited by the Kolha (also known as Munda or Ho) Tribe, recognized as one of the 62 Schedule Tribes in Odisha. According to village elders, the village consists of 40 households which are the descendants from 12 original families that settled in the village four generation back. The livelihood of the community is mostly based on gathering forest products.

Damburu Munda, Secretary of Forest Rights Committee of the Village, shared that while 59 individual forest rights claims were filed, only 44 titles were issued to the claimants for cultivation on forest land by district administration. They do not know the reason why the rest of the claims were not recognized.The villagers identified their Traditional Boundary with the prominent land marks and put it in the Sketch Map. They are collecting around 32 different minor forest products such as the mahua flower, mushrooms, char seed, siali and sal leaf (used as leaf plate), bamboo, tendu (fruit and leaf) within their customary boundary. The Forest Protection Committee is named after the village deity, Maa Disauli.

The issue that they now face is from the neighboring villages who trespass into their forest and cut the trees. For that they have posted some bill boards with a warning not to trespass and collect forest products and fuel wood. On 27th April there was a training programme on Forest Rights for the volunteers, members of Forest Rights Committee and Staff Members of KIRDTI who are engaged in facilitating the claim process on ground. The programme was organized by KIRDTI and Sankar Pani of Natural Justice has facilitated the training process. Sricharan Behera shared his experience of CFR claim process in Kondhamal District.

7 May 2013

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