Karnataka

Tribes denied right to collect forest produce

: The Forest Department’s refusal to renew the annual licence of 27 cooperative societies under the Kerala State Development Corporation for SC/ST Communities (KSDCSSC) to collect minor forest produce (MFP) has put to difficulty a large number of tribal beneficiaries in areas such as Attappady, Idukki, and Wayanad.

The annual licence of the societies expired on March 31. Since then, the Forest Department has not allowed tribespeople to enter forest areas to collect 147 MFP, including honey and broom grass.

The traditional right of Adivasis to collect the produce is recognised under the Forest Rights Act.

According to Forest Department sources, the State government has delayed the process of renewing the licence on the basis of certain proposals to hand over the rights to Forest Development Committees (FDCs). The FDCs are constituted by the department, but have meagre representation of tribespeople. 

If implemented, the majority of tribal beneficiaries would be denied the right to earn a steady income. The two cooperatives in Attappady have 4,600 tribal beneficiaries; most of them belong to the backward Kurumba community.

“Renewing the licence is an annual affair normally involving no complications. The Chief Conservator of Forests issues the order and each society should sign a direct contract with the Divisional Forest Officer concerned. But no such process has taken place in the last three months, and this is the right time to collect honey in abundance,” says P.V. Santhosh, who works at a society at Sholayur in Attappady.

Move to hand over right to forest panel alleged

Annual licence of coops. expired on March 31


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 7:01:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tribes-denied-right-to-collect-forest-produce/article7337826.ece