District admn signs MoU with Lekha Mendha gram sabha to enable them financial development through judicious utilisation of forest produce
Collectorate. District Collector and Chairman of District Parivartan Samiti, Sanjay Meena and Chairman of the gram sabha Devaji Tofa signed the MoU with a promise of a new era of sustainable development. Convener of Vrikshamitra, Mohanbhai Hirabai Hiralal was specially present for the signing. Dr. Rupendra Kumar Gaur, Dr. Kundan Dufare, Keshav Gamule, Bajirao Narote, Ramesh Dugga and Sachin Uike were also present. The idea is to strengthen the gram sabhas financially by equiping them to utilise forest produce affectively and generate employment opportunities.
On the occasion, Collectore Meena said, “We are starting project from Lekha Mendha Gram Sabha. With this agreement, programmes will be undertaken for skill and capacity development of the participating gram sabhas. Gram sabhas will also be empowered in matters ranging from collection, storage to distribution in the context of forest produce. The project will be taken forward through public participation.” Today marks the beginning of a new era of forest-based holistic development, he added. The initiative is aimed at uplifting the standard of living of people of this tribal-dominated district as well as to create employment through coordination of gram sabhas. It may be mentioned here that in order to bring about over-all development of the district and encourage new ideas, a centre has been set up at the district level under the chairmanship of the Collector.
Under the leadership of Collector Sanjay Meena, the project will be incorporating concepts of bio-diversity conservation and sustainable development with the participation of gram sabhas. The objectives of MoU are to enhance the capacity of both the parties through skill development, capacity building and exchange of knowledge. Efforts will be made to increase income from forest production through sustainable development keeping in view forest conservation in the district. For this, an efficient supply chain with direct and indirect employment generation will be created. Efficiency will be enhanced in marketing, distribution and use of forest produce. Further, gram sabhas will be empowered to prepare and implement forest conservation and management plans.
Mohanbhai Hiralal said that the decision was historic and an agreement was reached between the Chairman of the District Parivartan Samiti and the Chairman of Lekha Mendha Gram Sabha. “The gram sabhas which work for the development of their villages without electing anyone have been created by the Forest Rights Act. Gadchiroli district is the most forested district in the country,” he said. Devaji Tofa said that the MoU would be beneficial for gram sabha for collective forest rights. Today’s decision is historic and we welcome it, he said.
First published by The Hitavada (Vidarbha Line) on 17 Feb. 2022 (or view it here)