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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 Times of India August 2 - C Lokeswara Rao

The Times of India News Serivce

HYDERABAD, August 2.

The Andhra Pradesh high court has granted interim orders staying a state government move to privatise exploitation of Sundra trees. "Kattha", an ingredient of pan masala, is produced form Sundra wood.

Mr Justice Upendralal Waghray issued the interim orders on a petition filed by Dr Sivaramakrishna of Sakti, a voluntary agency. The orders said that sundra trees in Karimnagar and Khammam districts should not be leased to anyone except tribals.

The move to privatise exploitation of sundra trees is viewed as a typical example of the way government takes steps detrimental to lip service to the goal of tribal welfare. The injustices suffered by tribals provide a ready plank for Naxalites. Extremists also get to collect donations from traders and contractors. Thus, in more ways that one, the government’s move mocks at the strategy of adopting a holistic approach towards the Naxalite problem.

In the case of sundra trees, the present move for privatisation seeks to reverse the commendable steps to reverse the commendable steps taken by the very same state government a few years ago. Thanks to the co-operatives promoted by it since 1988, the tribals who used to work for wages to produce "kattha" , graduated to the status of members

of co-operatives who get wages for work done and can also look forward to their share of profits from the sale of finished "katha" to merchants. If the government were to go ahead with privatisation, these tribals would have had to revert to the status of labourers working for wages with privately owned "katha" units.

The Andhra Pradesh government issued orders in 1988 to limit lease of sundra trees in Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam and Warangal districts to co-operatives of tribals. The integrated tribal development agency took the initiative to promote such co-operatives and teach them "Kattha" making with the help of labourers from Madhya Pradesh. In the past, local tribals used to work with contractors form M.P. for wages.

The government’s initiative worked well, going by the experience of tribal families selected for training in remote areas like Utnoor in Adilabad district or Eturu Nagaram in Warangal district. Trainee families picked up stipend wages of Rs 1050 per month and also earned profits of about Rs 7000 per family, after deducting expenses like payments to skilled labour from M.P. and royalty payable to forest department.

What merits admiration is the fact that poor tribals were imparted skills and enabled to secure a just share in the profits earned by producing a value added product from forest produce. Kattha produced from sundra wood fetched Rs 134 per kg in an auction held in June 1991. Twenty one traders from different states took part in the sale.

The orders issued in 1988 for granting sundra leases only to tribals were valid for three years. This year there were moves to bring in private parties. Non-tribal parties from Chhatharpur in Madhya Pradesh, Kota in Rajasthan and Hyderabad were reportedly in the running for lease of trees.

However, when orders were issued in June 1991, it was mentioned that sundra trees in Karimnagar and Khammam districts would be leased to other parties. This meant that the laudable venture of promoting tribal cooperatives was to be continued in Adilabad and Warangal districts.

This partial move for privatisation also evoked protests. Since cooperatives had worked well in some places there was no reason why private traders should be brought in other districts. There were also fears that once private traders entered the field on some pretext or the other, it would be difficult to control their activities. They may hold permits for cutting and transporting specific sundra trees to katha units, but they may misuse the permits for cutting other trees and transport them elsewhere. These fears were mostly based on past experience.



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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