|Category of CCA||Defined|
|Number of households||46|
|Number of people||200|
Jhankarguda is a hamlet of revenue village Guntha of Pottangi Block of Koraput District. It is about 22 Km from the Pottangi block headquarters and 19 Km from a point on the national highway 26 between Pottangi and Semiliguda. To reach the village one has to take a winding road on the side of a hill, with steep gradients at places. The villagers have been protecting the Podapakna forest for about 30 years. The Podapakna forest is contiguous with Mahadevi forest where the shrine of goddess Mahadevi is situated. The Podapakna forest measures about 87 ha. Once a lush green well stocked primary forest full of diversity had degraded a lot due to massive human interference. There was abundant wildlife including a range of herbivores like wild boars, antelopes, etc. Due to forest degradation enormous soil loss had happened and the stream beds deposited silt. A range of NTFPs that were available in plenty also decreased to a few items only. About 30 years ago, the villagers came together to maintain the forest from further degradation with a vow to restore it to its original conditions.
Kandha tribe (45 HH), Gadaba tribe (1 HH). The general economic condition of the village as reflected in the land ownership and ownership of other assets was found to be less advanced than similarly placed other villages. In the village only 28 families have patta lands and the average landholding per household ranges between 1-2 acres only, most of which are uplands. Although agriculture is the primary livelihoods earning pursuit of the communities, yet the land ownership pattern is such that people cannot depend on agricultural livelihood entirely. Hence the livelihood basket is composed of agriculture, forest produce collection and wage earning. The landless households depend on partial shifting cultivation, forest produce collection and largely depend on wage earning. Collection of NTFPs and gathering wild edibles like tubers, leafy vegetables and seasonal fruits supplements their subsistence requirements. The forest is therefore an important means of food security. The village being located distantly from the mainstream, the wage-earning opportunities are very limited. In this context the PDS provision is seen as a very important arrangement for household food security. For those who have lands, Kharif is the main agriculture season. Paddy is the main crop and mainly grown in summer. Some households who have land beside streams are privileged to cultivate paddy in other seasons also, but such cases are very rare. They also grow vegetables like potato, carrot, beans, brinjal and ginger, only on the lands located by streams, which are much regarded as cash crops. Vegetable and other cash crop cultivation is not even a good economic enterprise as the market is far from the village. The participation of village communities in the Government run employment generation program such as MGNREGS is very low. This is because of delayed payment and again, payment through banks. The banks are located at a distance of 20 Km and there is no public transport available. Further, except the road work no other MGNREGS work has been opened for the village. Hence, the village has not got the desired benefit from MGNREGS. In absence of minimum wage-earning opportunities, the livelihoods of the communities remain under uncertainty. The only best option for wage earning is the agriculture work which is available in nearby villages. Although agriculture wages are fairly less compared to the schedule of rates, yet due to unavailability of other work people prefer to work as agricultural labourers. However, despite all these hardships to earn a livelihood there has been no trend of migration in the village.
|Year of Formation||-|
The village was set up more than one hundred twenty years ago i.e. spanning more than four generations. According to Sadapeli Balu, his great grandfather Sadapeli Madhu was the first inhabitant of the village. About 30 years ago, the villagers came together to conserve the forest from further degradation with a vow to restore it to its original conditions.
The village is about four generations old and inhabited by a tribal population. During settlement of the village, the settlers found a shrine of Nisani or Jhankar god in the village. In the name of the God, the village was named as Jhankarguda. As stated by the villagers, Sadapeli Madhu is the first settler in the village coming from a distant village near Araku. During his trails in the area, he found the place suitable to live and take up agriculture in and around the settlement. Four other families joined him later. To their good fortune, they found a shrine of Nisani or Jhankar god in the village. In the name of God, the village was named as Jhankarguda. The foothills and valley lands down the hills offered a good opportunity for taking up agricultural activities. Four small streams fed water to portions of the valley lands. The forest was dense and diverse with endemic species. Wild edibles in forms of roots and tubers, fruits and nuts, flowers and leaves were plentily available. The abundance of wild herbivores were occasionally hunted down when they were spotted grazing over the cultivated crops. Part of the forests from mid ridges to foot hills were slashed in course of time to make space for slope cultivation. They used to cultivate a range of traditional varieties including millets and pulses, oil seeds and spices, vegetables and tubers under traditional slope agriculture systems. The forests from the mid ridges to the top were well maintained on religious grounds, believing that their gods and goddesses reside there. On another count, the forests above mid ridges were being considered as the NTFP area from where people were gathering NTFPs for domestic consumption mainly. In the past, the villagers enjoyed open access to other forests nearby for varieties of their needs and the forests presently protected were relatively less exploited. Some pastoral people from Andhra Pradesh used to visit the forests, now under community management by villagers of Jhankarguda, for grazing their cattle during the summer season, for there was plenty of grass and fodder available. The villagers never objected to it as long as the forest was not degraded enough. As more households got added due to family exapansion and addition of new families from other villages, the pressure on forests increased reasonably. Jhankarguda village has a history of about 30 years in organizing forest protection activities. The forest around was very dense and well stocked in the hoary past which had degraded a lot due to several factors amongst which indiscriminate felling, wood smuggling and unrestricted grazing accounts to be the major reasons. When the forest started continuously degrading, the realisation dawned on them that it would be necessary to protect the forest in order to protect their livelihood. A stream originating in the forest irrigated the lands. This stream is known as Kodimati Jhola. It was also the source of drinking water for the villagers. With the disappearance of trees, less water flowed in the stream. There was scarcity of fodder for the livestock. All these factors motivated the people to start protecting the forest.
The drive behind protection of the forest arose out of their livelihood requirements. The available NTFPs provided them supplementary food and cash. The gentle slopes around the foothills provided ample fodder for grazing cattles that reduced over time. Thus, the protection initiatives revolved around livelihoods/economic reasons and biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity conservation should not be seen as an exclusive effort, rather it is considered as a practice by default, for ensuring availability of NTFPs.
|Collective of CCAs||-|
|Decision Making Body||Others → Forest protection committee|
|Rules and Regulations||Informal|
|Community activities through the year||-|
In the early days, Jhankarguda, Guntha and Pipalguda these three villages collectively initiated forest protection. On a rotation basis they were safeguarding the forests. Over the years, each village organized their protection activities for their respective part of the forest. Though women do not take part in the community meetings and the decision making processes, they are kept informed about the operational aspects. When it comes to collection of forest products from the forest, both men and women share the responsibility. There is an informal Youth Club in the village. The youth club mainly comes into picture during organizing of community level festivals and relationship building with government officers and outsiders. While no specific function of the Youth Club has been described by the community members, some believe that Youth Club plays a role in forest protection matters. Community extends support to the disadvantaged and he/she can participate in community meetings and decision taking processes and they are kept informed about different operational aspects. Community extends support during times of death or marriage in the family. The Gram Panchayat Office, Block Office, Forest Range Office, Tehsil, Police Station, Financial institutions, and NGOs like FES, Samprati are other external institutions with which the villagers of Jhankarguda have direct and indirect interactions. Traditionally the village communities’ perception about functioning of government is shaped by their experience of interaction with the Revenue officials, forest officials, police personnel, and the development functionaries mostly functioning under the Block administration. Block and Tehsils at Pottangi are the two important institutions villagers know next to the Community Health Centre (CHC) located at Kunduli. Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) is the NGO that has been actively working with the community for energizing MGNREGS for better natural resource management. The NGO, as a facilitating body of NREGS-NRLM project under Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India is actively working engaging with the village communities for betterment of the FRA lands and utilizing provisions under MGNREGA. That apart, the NGO is also active with their own initiative on claiming for commons through utilizing the space and provision under FRA for Community Forest Rights. FES has organized the village communities for claiming rights conferred under CFR of FRA over a forest patch of 38 ha which the village community has been protecting since years together. The evidence based and procedural claiming process is going on. Another NGO called Samprati is a nodal NGO for the Block that engages itself in social audit and hence has direct interaction with the village. Apart from this, the NGO is also operating in the area for promotion of sustainable agriculture with focus on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). It is also engaging itself in capacity building of PRI members and playing a watchdog role for strengthening MGNREGS in the area.
DECISION MAKING SYSTEMS
The villagers had also constituted a forest protection committee in the village about 10 years ago. The committee comprised 15 members from the village and all the members were male. The purpose of the committee was to ensure forest protection activities, limit the extraction of resources from the forests, impose restrictions on forest as per need, prevent smuggling of wood from the forest, and above all, to make rules and implement the same for better protection of forests. The committee also had the power to levy penalties for violation of rules and also handle conflicts. The committee smoothly functioned for about three years after which the committee collapsed. There was no internal conflict in the village contributing to the collapse of the committee, rather, as said by the villagers, when every community member religiously followed the norms and rules of the village for protection of forests the importance of the committee was reduced. As on today the traditional village committee takes charge of the forest protection activities and takes all decisions related to it. The conflict resolution system is simple. If at any point of time, anybody in the village violated the informally set rules in the village relating to forest protection, then it is brought to the knowledge of village assembly. The village head man gives a hearing and subject to justifications raised in favour of the violation decision is taken. The person who violated the norms is reprimanded and others in the neighbourhood are advised to keep watch on the person and dissuade him/her from violating the norms ahead. Conflicts, if they happen between two villages, are decided by discussion between representatives of both parties and decided mutually. Usually, the verdict is that the offenders henceforth should first request the village head from whose forest resources are to be exploited. Taking permission in advance to exploit any resource within a certain limit is all that is required to not end up with a conflicting situation.
When the community members organized themselves for protecting forests, they employed a watchman who was remunerated in kind. The first watch man they employed came from village Malidusura and he worked for the village for as good as seven years. Towards the remuneration of the watch man all households in the village contributed about 4 kg of rice or ragi per season. Taking three seasons together each household contributed 12 kg each of grains to retain the services of the watchman. There are informal rules which are obeyed by all. The people don’t have any roster arrangement for keeping a watch on the forest. Instead they engaged a person to guard the forest on their behalf. Every household contributed one Mana (3.5 kgs) of Ragi, one Mana of Pulses, and Rs. 10/- annually towards the wage of the watchman. No family ever defaulted in making this contribution. There seems to be a good understanding between the young and the relatively elderly people that they have to jointly take the responsibility of protecting the forest. In fact, the youngsters are actively encouraged to take responsibility which they shoulder with enthusiasm. Whenever required they consult the elderly people. There is a Yuvak Sangha (Youth Club) in the village. The members of the youth club ensure that people extract forest materials only according to their need and not for hoarding or commercial purposes. There is no formal organisational setup in the village for protection of forests. Nor is there any formal record keeping which would reflect the deliberations conducted in the meetings, decisions taken, new rules formulated etc. However, the business of forest protection is conducted with an easy informality and without much ado. The villagers do not maintain any bank account though there is a norm of imposing fines on a person who is found to be stealing wood or any other forest product from the forest. The fines if and when collected are to be deposited with the Nayak. In Jhankarguda, conflicts relating to forest hardly had happened in the past. The reason for the no-conflict situation is that Jhankarguda and its neighbouring villages started forest protection at one time and each village restricted themselves from interfering with forests protected by any other village. At the same time, the understanding also developed among the neighboring villages to share certain resources which are not commonly available in forests safeguarded by each individual village. This is the core reason for non-occurrence of conflicts. The villagers in Jhankarguda and the neighbouring villages believe in a care and share mechanism.
|Legal Status||CFR under FRA|
|Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR)||CFR claims recognised|
|Date of filing CFR claim||-|
|Level of CFR claim||-|
|Date of recognition of CFR claim||-|
|Management plan status||-|
|Land Ownership||Government owned → Forest Department, Community Owned|
|Other Recognised Status||-|
The villagers are by and large unaware of any other forest law except the FRA. As for forest law, they only understand that slashing of forest for agriculture or felling big timbers drags attention of forest department and cases may be initiated against them for such acts. The only awareness they have is pertaining to the IFR and CFR as envisaged and provisioned under FRA. With involvement of NGOs the villagers are committed to take full benefit of FRA and organize themselves for better outcomes from FRA in future. The village Jhankarguda has filed its claim for Community Forest Rights under the provisions of Forest Rights Act, 2006. They have claimed 86.7 ha of forest under CFR. They have produced evidence in favour of their claim. In similar manner, the adjacent villages like Guntha, Dhalaranguniguda and Pipalguda have also claimed community rights over three adjacent forest blocks measuring 51 ha, 20 ha and 33 ha respectively.
|Impact on Livelihoods and Subsistence||Non-timber forest produce|
|Social Impacts||Community empowerment|
|Ecological Impact||Good diversity and population of wildlife|
|Internal Threats and Challenges||-|
|External Threats and Challenges||-|
The impact of protection activities is well exhibited by the growing density of the forests under protection. The population of trees such as Mango, Jamun, Jackfruit, Karanja, Amla, Harida, Bahada, Bandhan, Kumbhi, Sahaja, Bija, Charakoli, Kantakoli, Khaira, Simili, Siali etc. has increased over the years in Pedapakana and the adjacent Mahadevi Forest. The abundance of associate species has also increased. Adding to that, among the wildlife the population of peafowls, porcupine, rabbit and wil boars have increased manifold as they are spotted frequently. The collection of NTFPs including Hill Broom, date broom, grass broom, Agasti flowers, Marking nut, Tamarind, Cashew nut, Mango, Jackfruit, Harida, Bahada, Amla, Kendu, Siali leaves, wild turmeric, neem seeds, kusum seeds, char seeds, honey, date, and many other wild edible leafy vegetables, flowers and fruits have increased. The forest protection activities have generated multiple impacts along different aspects of their socio-cultural-political and economic life such as 1) The supplies from the forests have increased and the ecological services are becoming better. 2)The impacts on the endowed social capital may be perceived from the solidarity, collective decision making, delegation of responsibilities to the youth and involvement of women in raising their concerns. 3) The frequency of conflicts has reduced because of ratification of the norms, though informal in nature. 4)The working relationship of the villagers with the NGOs, Forest Department and other line departments is becoming better which is potential for leveraging resources in future. 5) The inter-village cooperation and coordination in forest protection has strengthened. 6) The village has been recognized as a good forest protecting community in the neighbourhoods, adding credentials to their efforts.
Livelihood benefit is the major factor that supports conservation. Religious beliefs, facilitation by external agencies contributed to ratification of the protection norms. The Forest Rights Act provided effective legal arrangements and set governance ideals for supporting conservation priorities and other dimensions in the coming days.
Initially there were many challenges faced by the communities. 1) The very first challenge was to earmark the forests under the community control. However, there were not many issues on this matter as the neighbouring villages did not make any objection when the villagers intended to exercise full control over the said forests. 2) During the mid-phases of forest protection activities, the village seniors faced challenges to involve the youth in forest protection as the youth were not able to internalize the importance of forest protection to meet requirements at household level. Several negotiations were made to help them understand the importance of endemic species in the face of a pure cashew plantation or timber plantations like eucalyptus. 3) Involving women in decision making was a big challenge, which in course of time could be managed through involvement of NGOs and external agencies. 4) Reducing the level of exploitation by the neighbouring villages and freeing the forests from the pastoralists who were coming there to graze their cattle was a major challenge that could be managed through inter-village coordination and involvement of Panchayati Raj functionaries.
1) Ensure maximum participation of village communities in the Government run employment generation program such as MGNREGS towards restoring the forests and ecological services. 2) Ensure maximum involvement of the villagers in expanding non-forest based livelihoods alternatives by leveraging and channelizing opportunities in government schemes and programs. 3) Handling advocacy for granting of CFR titles under FRA, and properly planning and implementing post-title CFR management plan. 4) Developing a common fund at the village level out of income generated by NTFPs through household level contributions. 5) Set up a NTFP processing centre at the village level by leveraging government or external agency sources.
|Data Source||By external entity with permission of community member|
|Year of Study||-|