Chhattisgarh Forest Department Fences Land Claimed for Community Rights Without Gram Sabha Consent

Reported by

Asha VermaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 17, 2021

Location of Conflict

Arjuni, Ganjadih villages

Baloda Bazar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Plantations

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1018

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

109

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

In 2015, the residents of Arjuni and Ganjadih villages in Baloda Bazar district filed claims for community forest rights (CFR) titles under the Forests Rights Act (FRA), 2006, for 109 hectares of forestland based on visual mapping. But the claims remained pending with the District Level Committee (DLC) for over five years.  In the same year, the forest department fenced the entire 109 hectares without seeking the consent of the Gram Sabha. For this, they used funds from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority. The villagers alleged that the department fenced the land to show the area under reserve forest. According to them, this would extend the forest boundaries and allow the DLC to justify rejecting the CFR claims.  The villagers approached the Forest Range Office to voice their concerns. In response, the forest department agreed to open a gate to allow the villagers to access the fenced area. But the tribespeople were not satisfied as their access to the forestland would still be limited. Therefore, they planned to remove the fencing after receiving their CFR titles.  In Arjuni village, the forest department also fenced the cremation ground already granted to the community under Section 3(2) of the FRA. The villagers claim to have lost access to the ground, due to which they have had to resort to cremating their dead by the riverside. They have raised the issue of losing rights to their entitled land with the district collector and have flagged their concerns during a statelevel grievance redressal session under the Gram Suraj programme.  In July 2021, Benipuri Goswami, a local activist, told LCW that CFR titles have been granted to the two villages, but the communities were yet to receive any formal documents.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Violation of free prior informed consent, Non-implementation/violation of the PESA

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Asha Verma

Reviewed By

Asha Verma

Updated By

Asha Verma

Edited By

Asha VermaLand Conflict Watch
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