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Chhattisgarh’s Sitanadi Udanti tiger reserve: Tribals seek forest rights, officials cite core area rule

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Despite the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government’s promise of recognition of community resource rights, these villagers are facing bureaucratic hurdles, largely based on interpretation of law.

Thousands of tribals living in villages located in the core areas of Sitanadi Udanti Tiger Reserve are demanding that their Community Forest Resource rights be recognised. Despite the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government’s promise of recognition of community resource rights, these villagers are facing bureaucratic hurdles, largely based on interpretation of law.

On February 16, residents of one of the villages, Bahigaon, submitted a letter to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, asking for a special gram sabha to facilitate the recognition of Community Forest Resource rights provided under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The letter said despite receiving communication from the state tribal department, “officials have stopped the process and are illegally thwarting” the process of rights recognition.

The full article was published by The Indian Express on February 25, 2021.