March 31st, 2016
Source & Image: PRI
Women in the small tribal village of Odisha’s Ghunduribadi are shouldering a responsibility of guarding the local forest used for generations against intruders and illegal loggers. In the 1800s the British declared the land their own, but after the passing of India’s landmark Forest Rights Act in 2006, the villages like Ghunduribadi can claim title to their ancestral lands.
30 years ago, the men carried out the responsibility of protecting the forest. But at that time it the forest turned barren from overuse. A series of draughts further escalated the problem, which resulted into starvation in the village. But later, the women came together and they were handed over the onus to protect the forest. Since then the forest has flourished and today, the number of intruders has dropped almost to zero because of the watchful eyes of the local women.
Whatever these women have achieved is under risk of thriving until the official title to the land is not authorised.
Even a decade has passed after the Forest Right Act was enacted, barely two per cent of the land rights have been granted today. State-owned forest continue to succumb for industrialisation.
Read the full story at PRI.