In a move that will give a big boost to the economy of tribals, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday handed over gram sabha transit passes (TPs) to tribals in Jamguda village of Odisha’s Kalahandi district in the presence of union tribal affair minister KC Deo and Odisha revenue minister SN Patro.
The TPs will assert the community ownership of the tribals giving gram sabha to manage, harvest and sell bamboo with forest department having no role to play.
“The development of tribals should be the priority and they should not be denied their rights,” Ramesh said.
Deo on the other hand said the initiative would make the tribals self-reliant.
Jamguda was the second village in the country in 2010 when it got community right over 123.50 hactares of local forest under Forest Rights Act of 2006 – which defines bamboo as a minor forest produce and gives community the right to manage, harvest and sell bamboo – and first in the state to exercise rights over bamboo under the Act.
All districts in Odisha barring only Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj have abundant bamboo forests. Kalahandi and Malkangiri, two tribal dominated districts have the biggest concentration of bamboo forest.
More than 15,000 villages in Odisha have been identified for grant of community ownership as per FRA.