Forum > Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests > Comments by Ashok Sharma, I.F.S

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 10, 2007

 

Rule 4(2) of the draft rules seeks to include fuelwood and stones in the list of MFP. These are included in the definition of MFP in the Act.

 

            Rule4.3(a) needs to be qualified with the inclusion of MFP as defined in the Act rather than “all MFP regardless of whether they are nationalized, or previously restricted or prohibited and all items provided in all state Acts, Rules, Orders and Directions.”

 

Rule 4.3(b) in its application to forest areas outside the village boundaries, has the potential to lead to inter village conflicts.

 

Rule 4.3© The Act confers ownership of MFP on the beneficiaries under the Act. The question of payment of royalty should not arise!

 

Rule 4.3(d) is near impossible to implement in view of jurisdictional issues already discussed above.

 

Rule 4.3(e) goes beyond the scope of Section 3© wherein it is limited to “right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce which has been traditionally collected within or outside village boundaries.”

 

Rules 4.3(f)  & 4.3(g) similarly, go beyond the scope of the Act and serve to further limit the powers under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, with regard to transit to forest produce. Therefore, they need to be opposed.

 

Rule 4.4©  & 4.4(d)  may create right of communities from other States such as Kathiawadis of Gujarat, Graziers from Rajasthan, shepherds from various States thereby not only causing irrevocable damage to forests but also leading to inter community conflicts. In fact, the right to grazing should be subject to the carrying capacity of forests and be in conformity with the Grazing Policy / Rules framed by the respective States.  Forest grazing was made free in 1935, which only lead to vast devastation in natural forests. It is well known that grazing is the major cause of forest degradation in India.

 

Rule 4.5(a) may only legalize the pernicious practice of shifting cultivation.

 

Rule 4.5© & Rule 4.5(d) provide for  the role of traditional community institutions in the delineation and determination of customary habitat suo motu initiation of process of determination of forest rights by SDLC. This may lead to political interference, and should, therefore, be avoided. Suo motu determination of rights is not prescribed in the Act.

 

Rule4.8(b) right of the forest dwellers to MFP which is not prescribed under the Act, except for “critical wildlife habitats”.

 

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