Chhattisgarh leads the nation in providing ‘Recognition of Forest Rights Certificates’

Raipur: In consonance with chief minister Bhupesh Baghel’s vision to safeguard the rights of tribal people in the state, the Chhattisgarh Government has successfully implemented the Forest Rights Act. This has brought relief and economic empowerment to marginalised communities, including tribals and forest dwellers. The Recognition of Forest Rights Certificate plays a pivotal role in addressing the people’s concerns, bolstering the rural economy, and promoting forest conservation in the state.

Chhattisgarh Government has taken a significant step in the issuance of Forest Rights Certificates, benefiting 5,17,096 individuals. The state leads the nation in providing individual Forest Rights Certificates and is actively promoting the holistic development of beneficiaries. Various schemes, including land levelling, water resource development, and cluster initiatives, have been employed to maximise the benefits and overall well-being of these beneficiaries.

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Under the guidance of forest minister Mohammad Akbar, the forest department is actively supporting beneficiaries with state welfare schemes like the Mukhyamantri Vriksha Sampada Yojana. This programme offers a buyback guarantee for crops on private land, encouraging crop diversity, and offering incentives for planting non-paddy crops. The initiative has led to increased agricultural production per beneficiary, and the cultivation of income-oriented cash crops has been encouraged in the various regions. This scheme is uplifting the livelihoods of the involved beneficiaries and also fostering public involvement in forest protection. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests V. Srinivasa Rao, highlighted the positive results emerging from these efforts, reinforcing the importance of sustainable forest management and rural development.

Chhattisgarh continues to lead the nation in the Recognition of Forest Rights Certificates, with 46,000 cases acknowledged under Community Forest Rights. This initiative grants forest-dwelling communities various rights, including those related to important forest produce, fishing farming, and other water-based activities; grazing rights to vulnerable castes and communities; housing rights to farmers; and transforming forest villages into revenue villages. Additionally, the state government has declared minimum support prices for 67 species of minor forest produce. In the current year, Chhattisgarh has excelled in gathering 73 percent of the country’s minor forest produce, which is the result of the effective implementation of the State Forest Rights Act.

Chhattisgarh has successfully implemented the Forest Rights Act among the other states of the country, issuing Recognition of Forest Rights Certificates to 4,306 communities. This initiative prioritises the protection of forest dwellers’ rights, granting Gram Sabha the authority to manage recognised forest areas. Currently, the state government is actively engaged in preparing management plans for these forests, involving stakeholders from approximately 2,000 villages across 19 districts. The goal is to integrate these plans with work schedules to ensure effective and sustainable forest management.

The management plan for community forest resource rights encompasses comprehensive surveys to optimise forest land use. It identifies suitable plantation and conservation strategies to maximise benefits. Across 700 villages in 19 districts, the Foundation for Ecological Security, a self-help group (SHG), is actively exploring income generation opportunities and providing related training.

In Chhattisgarh, the SHG has conducted training sessions on advanced agricultural technology and processing techniques in 36 villages across five districts. Additionally, a plan is underway to plant local species by integrating working provisions for vacant sites into the forest management plan. Under the Community Forest Resources Rights Act, the state government has organised 106 training programs across 24 districts, benefiting a total of 5,492 beneficiaries.

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