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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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Women and Governance in South Asia

Edited by:

Yasmin Tambiah

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Conserving the forest

State sponsored deforestation was totally stopped by 1993 in East Godavari Kondareddy tribes habitat
Forcing the closure of wood based industry

"The policy of the government which has seriously affected the food supply of the Konda Reddis in this area (Eastern Ghats) is the granting of the right to fell mango trees in the forest to the Godavari Plywood factory set up in Rampachodavaram. The supply of kernels of mango stones which are a main source of food for the Reddis during rainy season is dwindling due to the felling of this fruit tree on a large scale."

Prof. Christoph von Furer Haimendorf in Tribes of India: Struggle for Survival,
Oxford University Press 1982
The East Godavari Forest working plan proposed the virgin forests of Rampa and Gudem Agencies and an area of 80,780 hectares was earmarked for selection working on 20 year felling cycle. The factory started working from 1976 and worked on 9 of the 20 coupes.

Political Economy of State Property and the Commons Forests of the Rampa Country of South India, Prof. D.Narasimha Reddy, University of Hyderabad. Paper presented in the fifth annual common Property conference on "Reinventing the Commons", International Association for the Study of Common Property Bodo, Norway 24-28 May. 1995.


 Tribal youth celebrating the High Court order preventingfelling of fruit bearing trees before Godavari Ply Wood factory, Rampachodavaram - May 1987


- C Lokeswara Rao - Times of India April 30, 1991

One of the common complaints about denudation is that it is carried out with the "protection" of government agencies like the forest department. At one level, the government winks at cutting of trees on a scale magnified several times over the number mentioned in permits. At another level, permits are issued in violation of forest department’s rules or in defiance of the spirit of conservation which ought to gride the department. It is to Sakti’s credit that it has documented such violations and anomalies extensively. Motivated people in many villages to report such vilations to prevent tree cutting in the first place and fought legal battles right up to the high court.

One of Sakti’s major campaigns was against a plywood unit which had been allotted 60,000 hectares of reserved forest at a rate of Rs.70 per cubic metre. The open market rate for mango trees, which accounted for 80 per cent of feelings by the unit, was Rs.1,500.

SAKTI generated over 300 complaints about trees that had been cut or marked for felling in violation of rules. Felling Rules and Silvicultural practices stipulated as follows. 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. Cutting a tree was not allowed if it would disturb the canopy. Complaints citing instances of violation of the above rules saved many trees. At one stage the high cour which lifted a stay obtained by Sakti stipulated that fruit trrees should not be cut.

Around this time the government of Andhra Pradesh revised the rate charged for trees allotted to the unit. The revision was contested in courts and cutting of trees has been stopped pending disposal of this litigation.

Date: 8.8.1989

E.G.District, Andhra Pradesh


Sri Madhavji Gadgil - Namaste,

I met you during the FEVORD-K (Mr.Heremaths others) seminar on common lands in the month of January, 1989. In fact I was next to you while you presented your paper.

I draw your attention to the two affidvits here with enclosed. The forests department is of firm opinion that mango tree attains overmatured stage by the time it attains 120 cm girth and worth felling. Our contention is that this 120 cm criteria may be resonable (1?) for other species but not for mango trees which attain the girth of 500-600 Cms. So this 120 cm criteria is not applicable to mango trees. They should not be cut. The over mature stage of mango cannot be 120 cm and should be higher i.e. around 300-400 cm.

The case which is posted for final hearing in High Court of A.P.and likely to reach with in two months. We are in need of literature regarding criteria for determination of mature and over mature trees of different species particularly mango trees in the similar ecosystems of eastern ghats.

Though the court has given interim direction that fruit bearing mango trees should not felled, the forest department rules out the intnces of trees bearing fruit above 120 cm as stray cases and allowing the felling.

In your recent foundation lecture in SPWD you mentioned in the first page it self extensively regarding the felling of fruit bearing trees of mangoes.

The reports such as Gadgil and Subhash Chandra (inprese) which may strenghten our case either published or unpublished are not with in our reach. Would you kindly send the relevant paras with your covering letter to enable us to submit the same in the High Court.

In case you are too busy to full fill this obligation I shall come over.

Yours Sincerely,


BANGLORE - 560012

Date: 26th September, 1989


Shri P.Sivaramakrishna
E.G.District, Andhra Pradesh.

Dear Shri. Sivaramakrishna,

Your Ref: Letter dated 8.8.1989.

Please accept my sincere apologies. But we really do not have the type of information you need to make a legal case accessible to us. It would require a specific investigation to be carried out.

With kind regards,



A.P.High Court ruled that the government of India permission is mandatory to fell the trees in the forest -

- much before the Supreme Court taken up the matter in T.N.Godavarman case.

Order in W.P.M.P. No.6021 of 1995,


M/s. Godavari Plywoods, rep. by its Managing Director.

6th September, 1995

"By order dt. 15-3-95 passed in W.P.M.P.6021/95 this court granted interim direction to respondents 1 to 3 not to permit the felling of trees in the forests of Andhra Pradesh for non-forest purposes.

It appropriate to dispose of these M.Ps. with a direction to the 4th respondent to approach the competent authorities for the grant of necessary permission."

"There are 17 plywood industries operating at different places in the Western Ghats though, admittedly by the authorities, the raw materials available in the forests are not enough for even three plywood industries. What is shocking is the fact that the Government has been yielding to the industrial lobby. An order was passed on June 11, restricting allocation of fresh forest areas for existing plywood industries. But within a month another order was issued allowingwestern India plywood factory to extract wood from Kodagu forests for another five years."

H.G.Belgaumkar, Indian Express, Bangalore, July 6, 1987-Chaos in catchment areas – Save the Western Ghats, Published by Central Organising Committee of Save the Western Ghats-March, Bandora, Ponda, Goa.

The forest department imposed certain restrictions on bringing cane from the forests. It also levied some price for each headload of cane brought by caneworkers. This restriction created some hardship for traditional caneworkers.

But they were put to even more hardship when forest department suddenly imposed a total ban on cutting cane from nearby forests. The reason given by forest department for imposing such a ban ws that, the caneworkers hve over exploited the cane from forests and that cane is getting extinct. In order to regenerate the cenegrowth the government imposed the ban.

For a forest official and to an outsider this ban may seem a rational step to protect caneworkers’s interest in the long run. However, the caneworkers’s view is entirely different. Caneworkers do accept that cane reserves have dwindled in recent times. But they attribute this overexploitation to government’s forest policy.

The forest department has allowed plywood factories to enter these forests. These plywood factories have logged the area for decades. While logging they select big and tall trees. These trees helped the regeneration of cane and to spread in length on the trunks of these trees. Once the trees were felled the cane had no support to spread. Gain the plywood companies constructed huge roads in thick forest areas. While constructing these roads the caneroots were uprooted. This process of uprooting can has put a stop to regeneration process. Plywood extraction over the years has decreased the availability of minor forest produce like honey and herbal nuts. Plywood companies have extracted water retaining trees from Agumbe forests. This has contributed towards drying up of streams, affecting agriculture.

The plywood companies are mainly responsible for the extraction of cane from the forests. These 160 traditional cane working families have been pushed to a state of destitutes by plywood factories.

The State Government has banned cane extraction but it has not banned plywood extraction.

- Pandurang Hegde, Financial Express, July 11, 1987, From Plywood to Poverty - Save the Western Ghats, Published by Central Organising Committee of Save the Western Ghats-March, Bandora, Ponda, Goa.


- Forest Working Plan, East Godavari Dist

27.0 Marking should be done for retention and felling separately. It should be completed by February so that felling can be commenced from April onwards. Following rules should be followed while marking.

  1. Healthy and vigorously growing fruit bearing and minor forest produce yielding trees like Mango, Tamarind, Karaka, Jack, Usiri, Jeelugu, in that order, will be retained unformly spread over the area.
  2. Marking should be done strip-wise.
  3. Only timber yielding trees need be marked for felling. It is enough it only one serial number is maintained for the whole coupe.
  4. The marked timber trees should be entrered in Form-I recording girth at brith., height of clean hole, anticipated firewood in cum etc.
  5. Along peronnial stream banks growth upto 20 mts width on either side should be retained.
  6. A belt of natural growth to a width of 20 mts should also be returned along important metalled and black topped roads.
  7. Pure patches of cane brakes and Bamboo growth of and over 0.4. hectares in extent shall be retained.


Forest working plan 1995- 2005, East Godavari


The Andhra Pradesh government taken up JFM programmes with World Bank funds in 1993. SAKTI supported by SPWD hosted the first state level conference of NGOs and officials in December 1993 in Rampachodavaram. Then Principle Secretary forest department Sri S.Ray participated for three days in this conference. In the preparatory workshop conducted in Maredumilli forest guesthouse preceding the conference SAKTI proposed that here after the tribal should implement and follow FC act either by checking the government where it goes wrong and supporting it where it is needed. In the conference SAKTI shared its experience through charts photographs, distributed material on the experience of Chipco movement taking up afforestation; the forest protections committees of people successfully protecting forests in 20000 village in Orissa state; the traditional management system of common property resources particularly among the tribals of East Godavari. The venue of the workshop was named after the local idiom used for such system ‘Noorinti Adavi’ which means 'forest of hundred house holds’. Already several villagers are protecting forests in drought hit Anantapur district.

SAKTI tried to impress upon the participants, while the government orders allowing deforestation can be challenged in court of law, the inconsistencies and loopholes in the management allowing smuggling, not following silviculture principles and under payment of wages and corruption in executing the works can only be checked by a vigilant NGO moment educating themselves and community in forest operations and influencing an attitudinal change in the foresters and forcing a change in the policies on the ground. SAKTI felt that the department should not be allowed to wash of its hands pumping money to JFM. It is duty bound to follow the guidelines of MoEF, activise forums constituted under the wild life protection act and allow the poor to participate in conflict resolution – forest protection afforestation. SAKTI went ahead with its Nurinti Adavi community forest management programme. Sri Aravind Khare the then Executive Director of SPWD observed that -

"NGO-supported community-based conservation: NGOs are supporting community struggle for conservation of their resources in two ways: one is to fight the attempts of entrenched classes to do any more damage and the second is to devise positive solution for conservation. For example, Sakti is a federation of 23 community groups who have been protecting their forests for more than 10 years, much before the advent of JFM, and, because of their strength, are in a position to consolidate their conservation efforts by utilizing JFM provisions".

- Aravind Khare in Communities and Conservation, 
Natural Resource Management in South and Central Asia. Page No:98 
– Published by Kalpavriksh in 1998

The state government earmarking certain areas and funds for JFM went ahead declaring its policy of forest management in 1993. According to the new policy the forestry administration would concentrate on high priority areas where it has a comparative advantage and unique mandate, and divest itself from activities that can be more efficiently performed by other groups, including local communities. In 2000, the state government went ahead, inviting the involvement of industries in supporting JFM programs in rejuvenation of degraded forest areas. In 1999 GOI also issued a circular inviting private investment in the forest.

Instead of taking afforestation under the specific guidelines of MOEF inviting proposals under "Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Association of Scheduled Tribe and Rural poor in Afforestation of Degraded Forests" the department went ahead with JFM programme in the lands under theoccupation of tribals in the reserve forests with fond hope of erasing the hope of individual ownership from the minds of tribals.

"The task of the VSS is to protect land falling within its revenue boundaries. But the use of forests was not based on revenue demarcations. So the VSS took on the responsibility to keep away the ‘outsiders’. The project funds compelled the VSS to raise and protect the ‘boundaries’ from its traditional users. Overnight, many people lost access to grazing lands, fuel wood and livelihood. Even beedi leaf, a seasonal plant that is harvested when the leaves are tender and within a short time was not accessible. the VSS then had to stop grazing by cattle from the people in the village. Then began curbs on shifting (podu) cultivation – a practice among tribals to grow subsistence food crops on hill slopes. The appraisal mission of the World Bank has acknowledged with satisfaction that the project has succeeded in reversing and podu".

- Participatory Forestry and Peoples Entitlements 
– A Case Study, Dr. K.S.Gopal, CEC.,

The government has to revise the minimum wage rates for every 5 years. But ignored to revise them between 1990-2000. One of the MoEF guidelines direct the department to involve the officials of tribal welfare in fixing the wages. Though the Project Officer, Tribal Welfare is the Chairperson for the JFM programme in the scheduled areas, the tribal welfare department did not assert for their involvement in fixing the wages. The letter of the Commissioner of Tribal Welfare to appraise the stand of the forest department in this regard is yet to be answered. It did not correct the loopholes in smuggling and entrusted to VSS the job policing the forests from head leaders.

The staff appraisal report of World Bank identified delay in setting of rights of the people in the Wildlife Sanctuaries is one of the reasons for the hostilities between forest department and tribals in A.P. District Collectors who are vested with powers to settle the rights used to act as check on the claims of forest department. But forest department in 1997 delegated the powers of District Collector to one of their senior officers in the department, the conservator. Inspite of getting such sweeping powers the department did not initiate the process of settlement.

GOs protested the attempts of government inviting private investment in the JFM programmes and opposing the alleged attempts of the forest department to dislocate the tribals from their lands covered by JFM. Govt changed the name of JFM to CFM by a order again announced a state policy of forest management similar to 1993 order.

The Department confined involvement of JFM committees only to the works supported by the World Bank. When the government released funds for the excavation of trenches on the boundaries, the department executed the works importing their choice of labour.

Tribal efforts to improve their involvement in the process:

In 1993 Upholding SAKTI petition against leasing of lands to non-tribals the court ruled that ‘person includes government’. The Commissioner Tribal Welfare instructed to the Collector, Khammam to evict APFDC managed by a govt. nominated body of non-tribals having cashew plantations in the scheduled areas of the district. But in SAMATA judgement in 1997 government and its corporations are allowed to own lands. But tribals of Khammam district forced the FDC to distribute 1600 acres of cashew plantations to the self help groups. The Chenchu tribes of Mahaboobnagar district exposed and the department supporting fishing for commercial purposes in Nagarjuna sagar – Srisailam Tiger reserve (wild life sanctuary) where such activity is prohibited under law and checked the same through court orders. They obtained court directions to dispose the proposal regarding declaration of their villages in the sanctuary as revenue villages. For the last 50 years since independence, government ignored to enroll them as voters in the elections of Panchayat Raj institutions. Now not only they are enrolled as voters; they elected their representatives. They are demanding active participation in the management of Sanctuary participating in the state wild life advisory board and other related forums and insisting a stake in working out tourism programme.

In May 2002 govt of India issued a circular to take up measures evict encroachers from forest lands. SAKTI traced the history off these encroachments and the abandoned attempts to regularise them in a petition filed in High Court of A.P. The court stayed the eviction of tribals from forest lands.



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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