Pathalgarhi Style Notice Inside Jharkhand’s Palamu Tiger Reserve | Ranchi News

Pathalgarhi Style Notice Inside Jharkhand’s Palamu Tiger Reserve |  Ranchi News
DALTONGANJ: In an infamous Pathalgarhi-style move in Khunti, Chaibasa and other tribal-dominated districts of Jharkhand, Latehar villagers have put up a sign declaring their rights within the Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR), citing the Forest Rights Law (FRA). The measure is allegedly directed against the development of the town, which has a hot spring, as a tourist spot.
The sign posted by the gram sabha under Morwai panchayat of the Barwadih block deep in the reserve he warned PTR officials not to take on development projects that would be detrimental to the ecology. The notice in Hindi said that the gram sabha is authorized to protect, conserve and manage community forest resources guaranteed by the 2006 FRA and its 2008 rules, which were amended in 2012. A few meters from the sign, the villagers also wrote “Sari jungle hamari hai (All parts of the jungle are ours) “on a rock.
No member of the gram sabha agrees to declare the installation of the sign for fear of administrative action, but said it was a declaration of the gram sabha. The statement on the sign said it was adopted on April 17, 2018, coinciding with the period in which a series of stone tablets were erected under the Pathalgarhi movement in Khunti district.
The declaration prohibits setting the forest on fire, cutting down trees and harming wild animals or forest biodiversity by any type of activity without the permission of the gram sabha. Villagers have also mentioned that anyone who violates the rules would be punished with gram sabha under Section 5 of the FRA.
Forester (in charge) Akhilesh Kumar said that although the sign is signed by the gram sabha in 2018, it was recently built. “The gram sabha notification is just a ‘cover-up’ as some influential tribes want to enjoy control of the forests,” he said, dismissing reports that villagers unanimously agreed to put up the signage.
The deputy director of the PTR (northern division), Kumar Ashish, claimed that it is the work of an influential tribe identified as Ganesh Singh. Ashish also said that after the action of the forest department for cutting down trees against Singh in January this year, the sign prominently became public domain. Ashish, however, admitted that he was there for a long time.
It should be noted that a tourist spot is being built at a hot spring in the village within the reserve, reportedly after getting the go-ahead from PTR officials.
Speaking to TOI, Barwadih Bloc Development Officer Rakesh Sahay said that villagers have the right to the community forest resource as they have been given title under the FRA. “We are not aware of the sign posted by the villagers, but due to certain technical reasons, we have temporarily restricted construction in the area. Villagers had also applied for Prime Minister Awas Yojna after obtaining title to the property, ”he said.
When asked if a gram sabha permit is necessary for the development of the village into a tourist hotspot, Sahay admitted that there is a provision to obtain the permit from the village entity under the FRA. “The forest department can develop the area as a tourist spot and, if it wants, we can arrange a meeting with the gram sabha, but that proposal has not yet come,” he said.
Noted wildlife expert DS Srivastav said the hot spring can change the look and economy of the village if the gram sabha allows PTR officials to complete the work.
The access road to the hot water spring is in poor condition and there is no privacy for tourists who want to take a hot bath there.

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