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Tribal village transforms with CFRR title

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Tribal village transforms with CFRR title

Loyendia is a small hamlet comprising just 13 families in Kandhamal district of Odisha. Eleven of the families belong to the Kondh Adivasi group while two other families are recognised as Other Traditional Forest Dwellers.

In 2012, the villagers of Loyendia were granted the community forest resource rights (CFRR) under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 – widely known as Forest Rights Act (FRA) – over an area of 500 hectare of degraded forest land.

A decade later, the results have been amazing. The barren area has now been covered with lush green forest, which has immensely contributed to people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.

Villagers say that when they got the CFRR, the state-owned Odisha Forest Development Corporation was running a paper mill that was responsible for the destruction of most of the forest cover. So, the first thing they did was to demand the mill’s closure.

The villagers then organised themselves to manage the degraded forest area as per the title granted to them. Members from each of the families took turns to guard the area. Within a few years, gradually, trees started regenerating.

Women played a proactive role in protecting the forest. They regularly made rounds of the area in groups and alerted the villagers if they spotted any stranger entering the forest. During summer, they took precautions to prevent forest fire by creating fire lines.

The forest around the CFRR area is now dense. It is full of different varieties of trees and bamboo bushes. The community forest committee takes decisions on the harvest of the forest resource sustainably.

The villagers say they firewood, fruits, tuber or herbs for the sustenance of their families. They also collect minor forest produces from there to sell in the nearby market. A major economic activity of the women of the village is the collection of Sal leaves from which they make leaf plates and bowls.

The forest committee never allows outsiders to harvest bamboo or timber and impose a penalty on anyone found to exploit the natural resource. However, it allows the villagers of Loyendia to harvest it if they require anything for personal use like house building on payment of a nominal fee to the committee.   

From its fund, the committee spends on the development of the village. It has constructed a bridge over a stream running along the hill.  

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