The Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act 2006 popularly known as Forest Right Act ensures the recognition of traditional forest right of community such as protection, regeneration or conservation or management of forest within the customary boundary of the village, collection and sale minor forest produces, fishing from the water bodies in forest land, grazing and other traditional uses of forest excluding hunting.
Most remarkable part is the act ensured the management of the forest by the Gram Sabha and defined the minor forest produces properly. Minor forest produce as defined in the act is that includes all non timber forest produces of plant origin including bamboo, brush wood, stump, canes, tussar, cacons, honey, wax, lac, tendu or kendu leaves, medicinal plants, herbs, roots, tubers and the like.
Jamguda was recognized community right such as right to manage the forest, collection and sell of minor forest produces etc in the year 2010. The forest in the customary boundary of the village is full of Bamboo and within the framework of FRA Gram Sabha has the right to harvest and sell bamboo sustainably. Gram Sabha asserted the right on Bamboo and started harvesting flowered Bamboo in June 2012. But due to non issue of transit pass by the forest department to Gram Sabha the first buyer of Bamboo Mr. Bhakta Charan Das, MP Kalahandi could not transport Bamboo to Bhawanipatna from the village.
Jamguda was in national news in June 2012 when the central Minister of tribal affairs issued a letter to Chief Minister of Odisha to ensure sell of Bamboo by the Gram Sabha. Again it was in news on 3rd March 2013 when two central ministers Jayaram Ramesh (minister of Rural development) and V Kishore Chandra Deo (Minister of Panchatiraj and Tribal Affairs, Revenue Minister of Govt. of Odisha Surya Narayan Patra and Bhkata Charan Das (M.P. Kalahandi) visited the remote village of Madan Rampur block to hand over the transit pass to Gram Sabha by the forest department to Gram Sabha. It ensured smooth sell the Bamboo by the Gram Sabha. On the same day Gram Sabha leader handed over transit pass to Bhakta Charan Das to carry the bamboo by tractor which he had purchased from the Gram Sabha in June 2012.
Now the event has completed one year. Gram Sabha is managing the forest very well. Forest department has trained the Gram Sabha on sustainable management of Bamboo forest. Accordingly soil and moisture conservation measures like construction of V trenches, Soil mounding around the bamboo clump, pruning of bamboo branches and fire line preparation has been undertaken by the Gram Sabha from its own fund.
Gram Sabha is taking decision for management of the forest, harvesting and selling of Bamboo. Gram Sabha has sold Bamboo worth Rs 150000/-. Out of this amount Rs 73000/- has been paid to the Gram Sabha members as wage for working in bamboo harvesting, fire line making and other forest management activities. Rest of the money is with the Gram Sabha which they have deposited in Bank account. Gram Sabha members are taking interest free loan from the Gram Sabha for health care, education and other emergency needs. Dependency Members have earned upto Rs 450/- per day from the Bamboo harvesting work which is more than three times of the Wage under MGNREGS.
Training has been imparted by the government to the villagers on making of different produces from Bamboo. It will pave way for value addition of Bamboo and increase of earning of the Gram Sabha members.
Other eligible villages in Odisha need to be recognized the right of community forest resource management and community forest user right under the legal frame work of FRA-2006 by which the Gram Sabha will be able to manage and take decision to ensure the livelihood enhancement of the Gram Sabha members like Jamguda.