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Resolution on Women, Livelihood and community rights

The resolution taken by Women Forest Rights Action Committee in two day consultations organized on Women, Livelihood and community rights in Ranchi on 14-15th September 2011

Resolution

A two day intensive consultation on Women, livelihood and community rights was organized in Ranchi on 14-15th September 2011 by Women Forest Rights Action Committee, Jharkhand Women Commission, Shramjivi Mahila Samiti, Center for World Solidarity, National Center for Advocacy Studies and National Forum of Forest People and Forest Worker. In this consultation over 300 women leaders and delegate from 12 states from various organizations took participation. The focus of the consultation was to ensure the community forest rights and control of Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) of women in the forest. On the basis of such intensive consultation a total of 55 resolutions were adopted. These resolutions are in two parts:

1. Resolution for Central and State governments.

2. Resolution to build up strong organizational strategy to strengthen the rights of women over the forest and to strengthen the forest rights movement in the leadership of women.

 

These resolutions are:

1- Resolution for Central and State governments.

 

 

1.1 The recommendation to constitute a commission to formulate the Minimum Support Price by Sh. T. Haque Committee should be immediately implemented.

 

1.2 To ensure the rights of women in all kind of community forest rights the claims process under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) should be accelerated immediately.

 

1.3 The provisions of FRA are discriminatory in terms of ST, non ST and other forest dwellers (OTFD) where the cut of date for these communities are different. There is provision of 75yrs of residence proof for OTFD, this provision is causing lot of impediments in the implementation of Act resulting into caste and communal divide among forest people. It can further lead into civil war inside the forests.  The cut off date for both the communities depending on forest for their livelihood should be same.

 

 

1.4 In all the states the list of NTFP should be made available to village forest rights committee. The women should also make the list of NTFP available in their nearby forests. The women participation should be ensured in the FRC’s.

 

1-1    The list of NTFP should be compiled state wise as large population especially women are dependent on these NTFP and the control of forest corporation and middle men should be removed. The control of NTFP should rest with the community. In order to make list of NTFP the working plan document of forest department should be consulted.

 

1-2  The monopoly of forest department and state on Tendu-Kendu leaves and bamboo should be removed.

 

1-3  In order to determine the minimum support price of NTFP the help of Trade union organization and social organization like New Trade Union Initiative, Sharmjivi Mahila Samiti and National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers should be taken.

 

1-4    In order to collect NTFP the role of Forest Corporation and contractors should be completely eliminated and in every village the collection of the forest produce should be done by forming women cooperatives. Women should be given training and awareness regarding this new institutional building.

 

1-5  Training and awareness should be imparted especially to single women for collection of NTFP and efforts should be done to strengthen their organization.

 

1-6    In all the states the transit permit is not given to forest people to take their forest produce from one place to other, the old transit rules should be terminated. New rules should be formed in consultation with FRC’s in the context of FRA so that the loot of forest produce by contractors and mafia could be stopped.

 

 

1-7    The state should intervene to ensure appropriate value for the forest products. In order to empower women the control and management of NTFP should be given to women.

 

1-8    In the light of enforcement of FRA, the Indian Forest Act 1927 (IFA) has no relevance. The preamble of FRA clearly states that the Act has been enacted to mitigate the ‘historical injustices’ inflicted to forest people during colonial times and there after. The historical injustices can’t be undone until and unless the colonial Act IFA is repealed.

 

1-9    The Forest Rights Act and PESA ( Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas) are reciprocal to each other hence both these Acts should be implemented in coordination.

 

1-10            Any official working against or misleading against the FRA should be punished and criminal case should be filed against such official according to section 7 of FRA. The judiciary from the session Courts to Supreme Court should be sensitized regarding these provisions of the special Act.

 

1-11            The traditional health system that was based on the herbs and medicinal plants should be revived again and the health of women and forest dwellers should be ensured in the forest area by reviving the old health system.

 

1-12            Traditional healers should be encouraged and empowered to treat small ailments in the villages. Women in the forest area should be trained to take care of gynea related problems. The traditional health system should be used for preventing diseases among women and forest community.

 

1-13            In order to prevent various killer diseases inside forest regions, the medicinal plants should be planted more rather than commercial plantation funded by either World Bank or Japan International Cooperation.

 

1-14          The formation of Forest Rights Committees should be done at the hamlet level and not at the level of Panchayat.

 

1-15          The responsibility of management and protection of forest should be given to Village council or FRC’s, equally represented by women and no interference should be allowed by forest department.

 

 

1-16            In order to promote the forest based industry and forest based products the products made by multinational companies should be banned in local haat and markets.

 

1-17            The Center and State governments should build a special provision for promotion and empowerment of traditional healers in their budget plan.

 

1-18            Special provisions should be made for women from the forest areas in the gender budgeting.

 

1-19            Strong measures should be taken by Central government to stop the interference of forest department in the forest. But there should be minimum interference from the government also.

 

1-20            In light of the “ historical injustice’ enshrined in the preamble of Forest Rights Act, all big projects resulting into displacement that is resulting into  destruction of rivers, forest, flora and fauna should not be implemented at all.

 

1-21          The forest people especially dalits, adivasis, women victimized and intimidated in name of ‘maoist’ should be immediately stopped. The false cases filed on them by forest and police department should be withdrawn immediately in order to honor the FRA that talks about mitigating the historical injustices inflicted by state on forest people.

 

1-22            In agriculture also the rights should be given to grow the herbs and medicinal plants to traditional healers, they should be provided training for this. The traditional healers should also be given right to treat birds, wild animals and government should equip them with all facilities.

 

1-23            The government should also give recognition to traditional knowledge system.

 

1-24            The attempt by capitalist countries to patent the NTFP should not be allowed at all by our government.

 

1-25            Single women in the forest areas should be identified and listed. They should be encouraged to file both individual and community rights.

 

 

1-26            Women in the forest areas are most affected due to forcible displacement and loot of forest as a result they are subjected to immoral trafficking. The destruction of forest and displacement should be stopped in order to protect the dignity of women.

 

1-27            The individual and community forest rights of single women should also be recognized so that their livelihood is protected and ensured for the future generation.

 

1-28            The family headed by single women’s ownership title to forest land and resources should be recognized under FRA.

 

1-29            The government should promote forest based industry in which single women should be given priority.

 

1-30            The PTG (primitive tribal groups) groups that have not been identified as PTG yet, who have been forced to move out from the forest in the historical process due to deforestation should be identified, listed and brought under the purview of FRA.

 

1-31             The PTG groups in our country are yet to be identified properly, their specific problem should be understood and their number should be listed out.

 

1-32            A special budget plan should be made for PTG groups for their development.

1-33            The habitat rights of PTG groups should be recognized according to FRA as the habitat rights are not restricted to 4 hectare limit.

 

1-34          The community should have mining rights, all rights related to mining should also be brought under purview of FRA and any mining lease should not be given without the consent of gram sabha.

 

1-35          To establish NTFP based industry in our country and to bring livelihood benefits to forest based population a consultation should be organized across the country. There should be amendment in cooperative laws to eliminate the control of government in cooperatives.

 

1-36            Private companies operating in the forest areas should also be punished for violating the environmental laws. These companies have taken control over the forest and in many areas are providing funds to Maoists. They have created a civil war like situation in the forest regions, criminal cases and sedition cases should be filed against such erring companies.

 

1-37            In order to build up the women leadership and to empower them, they should be imparted training and knowledge to come in the forefront. They should be educated through radio and TV.

 

1-38          The recommendation of N.C Saxena Joint Review Committee on Forest Rights Act jointly formed by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Environment and Forest should be immediately implemented.

 

 

4. The strategy to strengthen the women organization around forest rights:

2-1 In order to strengthen the women rights over the forest and natural resources strong women organization should be build up in forest regions. In all area women forest rights action committee should be built up to take the future challenge of forest rights movement.

 

2-2 A federation of forest rights committees should be formed in the leadership of women.

 

2-3 It is through struggle that women leadership will emerge. The issues of struggle should be identified such as control of women over the natural resources and the struggle should be intensified in the forest areas.

 

2-4 More and more knowledge imparting training should be given to women to enhance their leadership skills. There critical political consciousness should be raised by various programmes such as pad yatra and programmes should be built up with them by reaching out to them in far flung forest areas.

 

2-5 Entire plantation should be carried out by women as a movement, they should challenge the state promoted corporate funded commercial plantation. As a movement the plantation of medicinal plants, environment friendly and other trees used by the community should be started in the forest area.

 

2-6 In contemporary context there is big challenge in front of forest movement to save the forest from all the vested interests, to save it to from becoming carbon dumps and save it from various climatic negotiations imposed by the capitalist world. Strong strategy needs to evolve in each forest areas to fight the onslaught by international agencies.

 

2-7 In order to form women cooperatives an intense discussions and consultation should be organized. For this process the help of various independent trade union organizations like NTUI and social movement like NFFPFW should be taken.