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 The RoFR act recognizes the dwelling site, religious places, burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, biodiverisity etc and also PVT tenures. As the implementation boils down to title deeds for house sites and lands under cultivation, SAKTI engaged the Chenchu youth to document their traditional knowledge in their idiom and dialect, in encouraging them to assert as inborn foresters, capable of managing these resources as envisaged in the Act.

"Since SAKTI activities are mostly issue based and covering a large area, here we concentrate on the forest-related programmes of SAKTI for the present study."


The Tribal Struggle for Property Rights

-Arun Kumar

SAKTI: Review Report by: Mukta Srivastava, Programme Officer, Oxfam GB in India - Hyderabad . DATE : 20-25 November 2002




Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


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The People's Commission On Environment And Development India - P.Sivaramakrishna


The People's Commission On Environment And Development India



- Dr. P.SIVARAMA KRISHNA,SAKTI, Rampachodavaram


East Godavari District. The Eastern Ghats are scattered hills spread over Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa abutting the Coromandal Coast. Their ecology has not received the attention it deserves compared with the Himalayas or the Western Ghats. As a person involved in the development ecology and human aspects of the area, I am pained to say so. The ecological, human and economic profiles of the Eastern Ghats are broadly presented here to focus attention on the rapid development and enormous destruction that is going on in this region.
These hills are the home for a number of tribes who have adapted themselves to the micro-habitats within them. Each tribe has a unique culture, language and lifestyle which distinguishes if from other groups in the area. These ghats are also the catchment for major rivers like the Godavari, Mahanandi, Indravati etc., and several reservoirs have been built on them. They have luxurious forests which are exploited for timber, bamboo and non-timber forest produce. These forests contribute significantly to the revenue of the State Governments. Even today, the Forest Department of Andhra Pradesh is earning revenue of around Rs. 80 crores (1 crore = 10 million) per annum while spending only Rs. 15 crores for the conservation of forest. Having a surplus of Rs. 65 crores every year, it is ironical that Government is provide energy. One hill stream alone – the Sileru – has five hydel projects, Lower Sileru, Upper Sileru, Machkund, Duduma, and Balimela. They are also the source of minerals. They have 1/5th of the total bauxite reserves of the world. Chromite, Mica, and Tungsten are the other mineral deposits, Bauxite is exploited by strip mining. A power shovel bites into forests, piling up rows of soil and laterite on one hand and bauxite ore on the other. In this process, forest lands of the Eastern Ghats are being laid bare. The environmental devastation resulting form strip mining of bauxite is expected to exceed the quantity and intensify of any other form of man-induced land destruction. In the Gandhamadan hills of Orissa, popular agitations compelled Government to abandon the proposals for such mining. But in this area, several mining projects are operational and more are in the pipeline. 
A committee appointed by Andhra Pradesh Government to study the scope for bauxite exploitation in Chintapalli forests of Vishaka district felt that the environmental losses from soil erosion, effects on hydrological cycle, wildlife habitat and micro-climate, and upsetting of ecological balance would amount to over Rs. 1,520.88 crores (1 crore = 10 million) over a period of ten years. A preliminary survey by the committee has identified atleast 10,000 trees that would have to be cut down to lay roads stretching over 50 kms and the conveyor belt to transport the ore from pits to the plant. The hill streams originating from these forest range feed Eleru, Tandava, Varaha, Raiwada and Tatipudi reservoirs. These streams will be very adversely affected. Market studies reveal that alumina has no internal demand. Russia is dumping stocks in European markets. They are distress sales. There are opportunities of recycling wasted aluminium. Inspite of such market opportunities/limitations there is substantive pressure of obtain clearance for Bauxite mining from the Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment. 
This region plays a major role in the development of the State but the lot of the tribal in these areas has not improved. Starvation deaths, epidemics of gastro-enteritis and malaria are now endemic in this habitat. Development activities, deforestation and industrialization have pushed the tribal into the interiors causing harm to fragile areas. 
Another much sought after irrigation and power project is the Polavaram Project on river Godavari. It is estimated that the project shall submerge 228 tribal villages having a population of 1,50,000 tribals. Some more projects are envisaged at Rajabhopalpatnam (Maharashtra) and Ichampalli (Madya Pradesh). Tribals, particularly the predominant Koya community, are scared that these projects will encircle their habitat and crush them in between. 
Tribals from Orissa, particularly those displaced from the much industrialised Koraput district, migrate to adjacent Andhra Pradesh in search of wage labour and / or land for livelihood. They settle in thick forest areas and bring them under shifting cultivation. Thus forests and the land are getting progressively degraded. Stripped of forest cover, the Ghats have intensified soil erosion and siltation of reservoirs and hydel projects. This has led to severe landslides in uplands and floods in deltaic areas. The floods in the Godavari in 1986 and the cyclone of 1991 have devastated the north coastal districts of the State. The catchment (i.e., the ghats) and the command area, (i.e., the delta) have both been reeling under considerable stress and strain as a result of continued mismanagement of this sensitive ecosystem. The situation is complex. This complexity is compounded by violent extremist (Naxalite) movement in the whole area. 
In the Western Ghats, there are influential communities who campaign for its protection. In the Eastern Ghats, the tribals are poor and their pleas remain unheard. In desperation, they take recourse to violent struggles to voice their unrest, which provide a fertile base for extremist activities. The state and international aid agencies have responded to the situation through a policy of carrot and stick. But the need of the hour is to conserve and promote forest cover which provides life-support to the tribals of the area. But it cannot be done successfully by Government with its present attitudes and policies. These have to change, and new partnerships have to be brought into the ambit of this partnerships have to be forged in meeting the emerging challenges of deforestation. Tribals and forest-fringe population have to be brought into the ambit of this partnership in a meaningful fashion so that they develop a vital stake in protection and management of forests. In the pursuit of "development" we should not forget that "the health of the hills is the wealth of the plains". 


Forests are being cleared for mining and are thus being destroyed. Tribals and others settle on the cleared land and start cultivation. They are not to be blamed for felling trees. The problem lies elsewhere as has been pointed out by Mr. Sivarama Krishna. Though there is no market for alumina, yet forests are being cleared for mining bauxite. That is creating a chain of environmental problems for the delicate ecosystem of Eastern Ghats. SYED MAZHAR HUSSAIN Centre for Environment Concerns, Hyderabad


We need to study the impact of tribals on Eastern Ghats. Because of developmental activities, they are being pushed into the interior which are environmentally fragile. They are leaving their natural habitat and moving into contiguous areas and giving up their traditional practices. There is another problem which is of very serious nature. Tribals have been clashing with Forest officials and their population is getting reduced. Capt. N.S. TYABJI
WWF-India, Hyderabad.
The discovery of bauxite deposits in Eastern Ghats is an important factor. The balding hill tops with stunted flora are rich in bauxite deposits. Earlier it was thought that these hilltops were cleared by tribals for cultivation. But the fact is that plants have very low tolerance for bauxite. So trees do not reach their normal heights and are stunted. As a result, a lot of grazing grounds develop and attract grass-eating animals, which in turn tempt the carnivores. These factors and water springs were main reasons of profusion of tribal habitations in the region. With the mining of bauxite, grasslands and water springs were destroyed. So tribal migration into villages and town is inevitable. Thus the disturbing of the ecosystem brings in a lot of social problems. If the cost of destruction of forests and the consequent problems connected with human habitations are balanced against the value of bauxite and its end products, then one can see that bauxite mining is not a profitable venture. But Government in Orissa has entered into collaboration with French firms for bauxite mining. They are oblivious of satellite pictures from National Remote Sensing Agency which highlight the enormous destruction that has already taken place. Needless exploitation should give way to development without destruction. Prof. R.S.RAO Society for Conservation & Management of Natural Resources, Hyderabad.


The Planners should be aware of the invisible costs of such projects, the cost of destruction of the environment, displacement of population, their resettlement and rehabilitation, etc., Before giving environmental clearance, such costs should be carefully computed. Dr. KARAN SINGH
According to the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, no forest area can be converted to non-forestry use unless specifically approved by the Government of India. But the entire forest area is not covered by this Act. Further, no bauxite factory has been set up Andhra Pradesh. There is only discussion about such projects. At least 10,000 acres are proposed for coffee plantation for the benefit of tribals. Forest Department is opposing both as they would have impact on the forests of Eastern Ghats. Shri SHIV DAS MUKHRJEE, Chief Conservator of Forests, Andhra Pradesh Government :


NGOs should create a strong public opinion about such matters by lobbying the legislations. In my home State we have gujars (herders) with their flocks of livestock, and there is constant struggle between Forest officials who deny them access to reserve forests and herders who want to graze their cattle there. There has to be a special conservation policy for tribals and nomadic population. Dr. KARAN SINGH
We are working out a new scheme. Under it, forest protection committees involving villagers from the areas around the forests will be set up. They will protect the area and the entire development process, from planning to management of harvesting forest produce, will be done with their help and they will have a share in it. Shri SHIV DAS MUKHERJEE
In Orissa, Government of India has given clearance to 3 bauxite projects one of which is in Kalahandi area. They are in the catchment area of a number of rivers. The reservoirs on these rivers are unable to give assured supply of water to farmers. How can they supply water to bauxite factory ? Is this development planning ? Shri P.SIVARAMA KRISHNA


I would like to know the policy of Andhra Pradesh Government on this issue of bauxite mining because most of it is to be exported outside the State. During the recent Jharkhand agitation, they prevented minerals from being exported out of the area. The other thing is how the present Structural Adjustment Policy and globalisation of the economy are going affect this aspect. Shri M. SHATRUGNA, Journalist, Hyderabad.
NGOs around the bauxite mining areas in Chintapalli and Ananthagiri are very active. If Government makes any move, they also will start their action. What we need is greater interaction and solidarity among NGOs of the State, and more economic research on the problems of Eastern Ghats, forests and coastal areas. Shri P.SIVARAMA KRISHNA
The Policies of State Government have not allowed mining of bauxite, State Industries Department is keen on it. They would like to mine bauxite on hill tops and bring the ore out through existing pathways and roads without causing further damage to the forests. But Forest Department is also not in favour of any project in Eastern Ghats as they consider it a very fragile zone. So the present policy of Government is not to go ahead with exploitation of bauxite-rich areas. Shri J. HARI NARAYANAN Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation


Once you lay a road through a forest, it is the beginning of the end of that forest. Everyone including villagers even in far flung areas ask for roads. But whenever a road is built, forests tend to disappear, through the collusion of corrupt elements in Government. Dr. KARAN SINGH


Shri J. HARINARAYANAN, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation.
I do not think we have any solution to this problem. But we do see an apparent contradiction in the need to protect the environment and the need for progress or what we term as progress. A road through a forest may lead to its destruction. But how do you deny persons living inside forests means of access to outside world. That is the main issue not only in Eastern Ghats but everywhere.

The other issue is of soil erosion. The bulk of siltation in Godavari river is not because of Eastern Ghat problems. It is because of extensive deforestation in black cotton soil areas of western India. Soil erosion as a problems is linked with the kind of agricultural practices adopted all over the country. For instance, extensive use of ground water to grow sugarcane on Deccan plateau does not really make sense. These issues have to be presented in their correct perspective. Forest are fine but what about the people living in them. I am sure they want different kind of life from what they have been living. Their present plight may be due to despoliation of forests. Partly it may also be in terms of their own aspirations, in terms of what they perceive to be their needs. So, these push-pull factors need to be considered.


As regards the invisible cost of development, there is heightened consciousness about it. But the economic health of industrial sector may not permit induction of pollution control measures over a short span of time. The industry may not be able to afford its price in present circumstances. It will take time to achieve this very desirable objective. There is a contradiction between the long term requirements of the economy and the environment, and the immediate direction in which we are moving.
A point had been raised about monoculture versus multiculture in new plantations. One aspect that is agitating Government and the industry is the growing need for paper. So far, Forest Department was making bamboo available to paper industry. But it is becoming unsustainable. Large areas are now being given over to commercial varieties of timber solely for feeding the industry. They are asking for forest land to raise plantations to meet their needs as they do elsewhere in the world. On the other hand, we have forests controlled by a variety of authorities, from Forest Department to local communities. On some of the so-called forest land, there is not a single tree. Why cannot these lands be leased to paper industry for raising plantations to meet their pulp needs ? But there seems to be difference of opinion about handing over public and government land to private industry. So, alternative measures of public participation in their management have been proposed. A World Bank aided programme of replanting 2,50,000 hectares of degraded land has been taken up. The local people will be involved in its management. The choice of tree species to be grown will be left to the people so that they could benefit from its produce. But some of the area under this programme will be given to State Forest Development Corporation. What is happening is that we put a system in place and then we try to put another one alongside it. Everything get more and more complicated. On one hand as private industry cannot operate on Government land so an intermediary – a Government corporation – is created to give permission to industry to run the plantation. The industry is interested only in wood while corporation is not interested. It is a somewhat complex situation.








W.P. No. 5515/87 M.P.No.7398/87 Date:May 1987

W.P. No. 6175/87 M.P.No.8273/87 Date:May 1987

 "Managing Director Godavari plywoods ltd. Rampachodavaram E.G.Dt. be and hereby is directed not to cut any mango trees, jamun and jack trees and cutting the forests of Maredumilli mandal, E.G.Dt."

 Only matured or dying trees were to be felled. Jeelugu (Caryota urens) palm, trees yielding minor forest produce like tamarind or cane brakes, creepers were not to be touched. A gap of 20 meters from a stream.)         --Times of India, April 30, 1991.


The candidate has chosen a topical subject, very relevant to our thinking on culture, cognition and language. He has red widely and is familiar with the literature that matters. His linguistic and anthropological reasoning is sound. His language is clear and simple.

...evidence of the investigator's ability as a linguist by special training and as a linguistic anthropologist by self - cultivated interest.

Prof. A.Munirathnam Reddy, Head, Department of Social Anthropology,S.V.University, Tirupati - 517502


Enabling the Community to Gain Command Over the Administrative Process is Empowerment.


"Today the development is manaement without governance and governanace is without proper participation."



A.P.Cabinet Sub - Committee Report on Left Wing Extrremists. - P.Sivaramakrishna.

The only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters, never the violations of the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, mismanagement of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of Socio-economic entities etc. 



if the R & R is found to be lagging with reference to the fixed bench marks, the construction should accordingly be deferred / stopped;



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