Chhattisgarh maintains strong forest-dweller relation
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh is blessed with rich forest
wealth. Besides creating an excellent environment, these forests have made the
state culturally rich also. The effort made by Chhattisgarh government for the
management, protection and augmentation of forests has drawn appreciation
across the nation.
Chhattisgarh’s 44 per cent i.e. 59,772 square
kilometre of the total geographical area of 1.35 lakh square kilometre is
covered by forests. The state stands third after Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal
Pradesh as far as forest cover is concerned. The lush green forest, priceless
forest produce and hard-working forest dwellers have significant contribution
in the economic system of the country. Encouraging result of the efforts made
under the leadership of chief minister Dr Raman Singh for the protection and
development of forests of the state along with making it the main source of
income of forest dwellers has come to the fore.
Sufficient quantity of about 160 verities of small
forest produce is available in Chhattisgarh forests. Yearly, an estimated Rs
850 crore trade is done through small forest produce. It is the main source of
livelihood of the forest dwellers and the poor families. Keeping it in mind,
the state government has made well-founded arrangement for its purchase, trade
and processing in the interest of its original collectors.
The government has handed the responsibility of
procurement and trade of forest produce to Chhattisgarh State Small Forest
Produce Cooperative Federation, hence, on the one hand the role of mediators in
the business has ended, on the other, feeling of responsibility has been
developed towards its trade and management in the tribal and forest dwellers.
Honouring the labour of collectors, the state government has increased the
purchase rate of small forest produce several times during the last 10 years.
Mainly tendupatta, saal seed, harra, behada, gond, chironji, aonla, honey and
other small forest produce are available in the forests.
To provide rightful price to tendupatta collection,
the state government, in the year 2013, has increased its collection price from
Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,200 per standard bag. As a result, 13.76 lakh families have
collected over 14.92 lakh standard bag good quality tendupatta in 2014. Rs 180
crore has been distributed as wages. Rs 310 crore has been given as dividend
for the last collection year 2012 and Rs 82 crore bonus was distributed to the
collectors in the year 2013.
To provide better education to the children of
tendupatta collector families, the state government, in the year 2011, has
started Shiksha Protsahan Yojana. Under this scheme, along with scholarship, Rs
25,000 additional amount has been given to the children for study in
professional courses like medical, engineering, law and nursing. From this
year, the state government has decided to give scholarship up to Rs 12,000 to
the children of tendupatta collector families for non-professional graduate
level studies. With the cooperation of Life Insurance Corporation, insurance of
13.5 lakh tendupatta collecting families has been done.
Saal seed is the second major forest produce. The
tribal people earn additional income through the collection of this seeds in
the season. This year, the state government has increased its collection cost
from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kg. About 1.25 lakh quintal saal seeds have been
collected and Rs 12.56 crore has been paid to the collectors this year.
Similarly, about 50,000 quintal Harra and 1,500 quintal gond is collected every
year from the forests of the state.
Lac cultivation has become one of the main additional
sources of income for the forest dwellers of Chhattisgarh. Through worm-keeping
on Palash, Kosam and Ber trees, 3,500 metric tonne lac was produced during
2012-13. The state stands second in the country for the third time in lac
production. Chhattisgarh produces 26 per cent of the total lac production of
the country. The total market price of the lac produced here is Rs 114 crore.
To promote this business, the state government has formed a state level Lac
Cell in Raipur.
Chhattisgarh produces large quantity of Mahua (Madhuca
longifolia). Earlier its leaves have been sold to other states. But, in order
to provide job to local villagers, the state government has installed 20 Mahua
processing units in the state. In these units, self help groups, after
treatment, produce dona-pattal on the machines. Last year about Rs 25 lakh
dona-pattal has been produced.
The forest dwellers collect huge quantity of honey
from the forests of the state. To provide them proper price, the state
government directly collects honey from the collectors. For the processing and
bottling of the collected honey, the government has installed four honey
processing centres in Bilaspur, Jashpur, Bhanupratappur and Kawardha. The
processed honey is sold in the market in the brand name of “Chhattisgarh Herbal
The state government has prepared a joint forest
management policy for the protection of forests. Under this policy, 7,887
forest management committees have been formed in the 11,000 forest villages of
the state. Over 27 lakh villagers are members of these committees.