|Number of households||60|
|Number of people||330|
The village Randa is situated at a distance of about 30 km from the Block headquarter town of Ranapur. It is 7 kms away from the G.P. headquarters at Patia. The village is situated almost on the border of Khurda and Nayagarh district. The village can be approached from Ranapur on Chandpur road and via Raipada. Primarily the village was an exclusive tribal village. However, in course of time, the non-tribal communities from nearby places moved into the village for availability of good agriculture land, also probably, realizing the irrigation potential of the area in future. The village is surrounded by villages and forests on different sides. Nirmani village is located to the east of the village, Girinda village is located to the northern corner, to the west is situated the village Gachhapatra Kodalapalli. The forests and the dam under the irrigation project are located on the southern side of the village. The forest on the southern side is part of the Dhani Reserve Forest which is contiguous with a patch of village forest. The villagers protect about 200 ha of the Dhani Reserve Forest.
The village is heterogenous in caste and population. About 60 families reside in this village making up a total population around 330. Among the families, there are families belonging to the ST community, Khandayat caste, Karan caste, Gauda caste. Among these, the Khandayats form the majority follower by STs. There is also one Maharana (carpenter) family which has got the skill in carpentry and black smithy. The ST families were the first settlers in the village. The Non-tribal families came here in phases. According to the village community members and Sri Arakhit Sahoo, the President of the block level federation, the non-tribal families have added up in the village over last two decades only. According to their information, about 30 years ago there were only 5-6 non-tribal families living in Randa village who are said to be the original settlers in the village. This area was known as the Mala anchala or the hilly/forest area. The unit price of land in the village was very less, nearly one fourth of that at Ranapur, which probably attracted the non-tribal communities to come and settle in the village.
|Origin||New initiative by community, New initiative by government agency|
|Year of Formation||-|
Randa is surrounded by forests and hills on three sides and is originally inhabited by tribal communities. The tribal communities were depending on the forests at subsistence level. Local forest was their main source for food in lean seasons. Varieties of tubers, seasonally available wild edibles like bamboo shoots, mushrooms, leaves and buds, flowers and fruits were being exploited by the tribal inhabitants. Occasional hunting of small wild games were also being done as the local forests were full of diversity in flora and fauna. After selecting the area for a Minor Irrigation Project and during impounding of the dam, the forests were massively exploited by the vested interest groups. At the same time many families from Ranpur area migrated into the area looking at the prospects in agriculture because of the dam. Patches of forests were cleared to make space for infrastructural facilities and conversion into agricultural land. The forest started degrading due to more anthropogenic pressure and indiscriminate felling of trees. The original inhabitants, the tribal households in particular, realized that their resource base is degrading faster. The future problems that might occur could be well perceived. The NTFPs that they were regularly getting from the forest reduced alarmingly, the wild edibles too had a reduced supply. The villagers got together to protect the forest to whatever extent possible. However, checking the intruders was the biggest challenge. The non-tribal communities who started inroading into Randa village did not cooperate with the tribal people in the protection efforts. During the late 1990s the forest department officials were campaigning in favour of constituting Vana Samrakhyan Samiti in the area. The tribal households were not getting due cooperation from non-tribal communities who migrated into Randa. Hence, the original inhabitants expressed their intent to constitute VSS to protect the part of Dhani Reserve Forest around which they initiated protection activities.
1) population of the village has increased in the last 30-40 years with non-tribal communities migrating into the area due to low unit price of land and irrigation potential in the area
2) About 20 years ago a formal VSS was constituted to ensure protection of the said forest and take up interventions to restore the forest and the ecological functions it was serving
The requirement of forest produces for domestic consumption and sale in market for cash was the sole motive the village community came forward to conserve the forest. Thus, the primary objective for conservation of the forest is by and large economic.
|Collective of CCAs||Yes|
|Decision Making Body||JFM committee , Others → Forest protection committee|
|Rules and Regulations||Formal|
|Community activities through the year||Patrolling, watch and ward|
Relationship with federation of FPCs at the regional level: In Randa villages the initiative to protect the local forest started much before the Joint forest management initiative of the state government was launched. In course of time, the federation of forest protection committees represented by village level forest protection committees was formed that is popularly known as Jungle Manch. Formation of the federations at the regional and state levels has strengthened the Community forest management in the entire state, and more particularly in Nayagarh district. The meetings of the block level federation are held twice in a month; a meeting of the women representatives on 18th of every month; and a general meeting of the federation with both men and women representatives of forest protection committee is held separately. It was found that representatives of Randa village attend the general body meetings and regional meetings of the federation. However, the villagers do not attend issue based meetings of the federation relating to community forest management.
The village entered into negotiation with forest department and the village committee became known as Randa VSS. All the families of the village are included in the VSS. Two persons per family, the family head male and female became the members of VSS as per the VSS constitution guidelines. The members took up watch and ward activities on rotation basis. The forest protection committee was formed following the guidelines of Joint Forest Management. The village management committee has been constituted and functioning since last 4 years. The committee comprises of 15 members out of which 8 are men and 7 are women. The members for the office of the committee have been selected by consensus. The village management committee looks after village level issues, mainly socio-cultural and developmental issues and the forest protection activities remain as an integral agenda in the functioning of the village management committee. The Forest Rights Committee, which is a a formal committee set up under provisions contained in the Schedulted Tribes and Other traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of Rights) Act, 2006 oversee the entitlement issues over forest land as enshrined under the Act. The committee is responsible for preparing and validating claims for recognition of individual and community forest rights. It is a formal committee with representation of women. As the forest protection activities in Nayagarh emerged as a movement, the neighbouring villages also cooperated with each other in protection activities irrespective of the fact whether the organization follows JFM guidelines or CFM philosophy. Hence, the villagers in Randa have always availed cooperation from all neighbourhood villages. With the constitution of VSS, the protection measures and forestry interventions started addressing the biodiversity concerns. The committee is represented and led only by men. However, it was realized that the male members in the committee deviated from the primary mandate of forest protection and many of them got themselves involved in rather destructive activities like timber felling and building unholy nexus with timber mafia. Hence, the women of the village came forward to take charge of the forest protection by forming a women’s forest protection committee. Thus the earlier forest committee comprising of all men representatives has become virtually defunct. The women, who could foresee that the forests would be cleared after some time if they do not spring into action, formed a women forest protection committee and took over the charge of forest protection. Performing their duty rather aggressively, these women have been able to check the timber felling and transportation to a great extent. The women forest protection committee comprises of 15 women members. The village has three hamlets and from each hamlet, 5 women members represent the committee. The committee convenes meetings intermittently whenever required but they have been very vigilant about the forest protection and management. Due to unwillingness, youths are less active in the protection of the forest.
DECISION MAKING SYSTEMS
The forest protection committee in the name of Maa Ramachandi Jungle Surakshya committee has its own set of norms and rules governing the protection of the forest and use of forest resources equitably and sustainably. These rules and norms evolved over a period of time have stabilized. In the village, Vana Samrakhyan Samiti (VSS) has been organized by the Forest department. On pen and paper, a JFM committee is existing since 1997-98. However, all matters pertaining to forests are intervened by the women forest protection committee in the village. Decisions are taken at the VSS executive committee level. The office bearers to the VSS comprising villagers and forest department officials take decisions on protection activities, forestry interventions like silvicultural practices, plantations and ANR. Conflicts, that have been of rare occurrence since the VSS was officially formed, are discussed in executive body and general body joint meetings. As set norms, in case of conflicts the forest department shall take course of action. The villagers of Randa have good working relationship with the Gram panchayat and the Block Office. Reasonable degree of indifference also is there between the Gram panchayat office and the village because of political reasons. The Sarapanch is from the BJP Party and the Randa ward member has affiliations to BJD. The difference in agreement between the Panchayat functionaries representing two different parties is at the crux of relationship with Gram panchayat office. With the Block office, the villagers do not have a regular relationship. However, from block and panchayat sources many development works have been initiated in the village. An Anganwadi Building and a Kothaghar are under construction. They have been incomplete because of shortage of funds. Block has not given adequate attention for development works relating to sanitation, renovation, etc for which the villagers remain indifferent to the block also.
It appeared elections are not held to the executive committee at regular intervals. The office bearers are chosen unanimously. Kailash Jena is the President of the Forest Protection Committee and Susanta Mohapatra is the Secretary, both from the same village. The forest protection duties and responsibilities are shared by all the families of the village following a roster system. Over the years there has been no issue or irregularities observed in the performance of roster system. In case of any unforeseen situation, if the scheduled roaster fails to perform the duties then the responsibility passes to the next household automatically. Forest produce for bonafide needs can be taken from the forest after taking permission of the committee. If anyone is found bringing any forest produce without the permission of the committee then they will be punished according to the rules of the committee. If the forest offenders do not obey the decisions of the committee then a stringent action will be taken against them. Hunting is prohibited in the forest. If anyone is found hunting in the forest then they can be severely punished. The villagers follow their rule systems religiously. The women in the village are more active in following rule systems and ensuring that all others also respect their rule systems. Over the years peoples’ attitude towards the rule systems that have evolved has become very positive. Women of Randa village have always been at the forefront of the forest protection initiative. Three years ago in a general body meeting of the federation held at Ranapur, the women of Randa were given an award for their contribution to forest protection. The representative of the Jungle Mancha believes that the FPC of Randa is an active one and attends all the block and cluster level meetings. It appears, just like other villages in the area, there is no serious conflict among the villagers on the lines of political parties. There have been instances when the people came together to fight external vested interests and their effort to smuggle trees from the forest. Once such occasion arose four years ago, about thirty members of a community from Dixitpada village had felled some trees. The people of Randa put up a united resistance to this effort. The villagers sought the help of the forest department personnel to take on the offenders. In the scuffle one smuggler was injured. A case was lodged against the people of Randa for which they had to fight a prolonged legal battle. They had to spend an amount of about one lakh rupees for the treatment of the injured person. This amount was spent from the community forest fund.
MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCE USE
Apart from the forest, the village community also gives larger attention towards conservation and management of Common pool resources (CPRs). There are two tanks located on northern and southern end of the village. Both the tanks become empty in dry seasons. However, about 10 years ago the Block excavated the tanks with sanctioned amount of Rs. 30,000/- per tank. If the tanks had enough water the community members would have taken up pisciculture in the tanks and so would have cared them better. The village has a good extent of Gochar land measuring about 32 acres. The gochar land has been partially encroached by about 20 families but it is not raising any issue in the village. That apart, the village has about 25 acres of Gramya jungle wherein there is a partially degraded natural forest. A large chunk of the Anabadi land has been encroached by outsiders, especially for organizing farms.
|Legal Status||Forest Area under IFA → Reserve forest|
|Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR)||-|
|Date of filing CFR claim||-|
|Level of CFR claim||-|
|Date of recognition of CFR claim||-|
|Management plan status||-|
|Land Ownership||Government owned → Forest Department|
|Other Recognised Status||-|
|Impact on Livelihoods and Subsistence||-|
|Social Impacts||Revival or continuation of cultural/religious associations|
|Ecological Impact||Good diversity and population of wildlife|
|Internal Threats and Challenges||-|
|External Threats and Challenges||Land ownership or tenure issues, Unwanted development pressures|
As per description of the villagers the Dhani Reserve Forest was diverse, well stocked, deep and dense that had degraded a lot during the 1980s and 1990s. By providing protection to the forest and thereby facilitating the natural regeneration, the old biodiversity has been brought back to a great extent. The endemic flora is gradually reappearing even in areas that have been taken over by weeds. As of now, Sal (Shorea robusta) constitutes the principal species in the forest. The species generally found in association with Sal are Asan (Terminalia tomentosa), Bahara (Terminalia belerica), Harida (Terminalia chebala), Mahul (Madhuca Indica), Jamu (Eugenia Jambolana), Kendu (Diospyros Melanoxylon), Piasal (Pierocarpus Marsupium), Kasi (Bridelia retuca), Sidha (lagerstroemia parviflora), Sisoo (Dalbergia Latifolia), Bandhan (Ougeinia dalbergeides) and others like Kumbhi, Kurum, Mitikinia, Kusum and Sunari. The chief timber trees are Sal, Piasal, Kurum, Sisoo, Bandhan and Asan. The minor produce of local importance are Harida, Bahada, Amla, Kamalagundi, Sunari-bark, Kochila, Broom-grass and Kendu leaves. Animal species found in this forest are hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), wolf, jackal, wild dog, sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)are seen in this forest. All categories of herbivorous animals (deer population) have fallen to wrath of people for game and fond. The wild elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) in herds occasionally visit these forests and also damage the standing crops in paddy fields in the harvest season. The other animals found are Spotted deer (Axis axis), Barking deer (Muritiacus muntijak), Mouse deer (Tragulus meminna), Pangolin, etc. Some people feel that forest protection fostered community cohesion and unity in the village till recently. People celebrate different festivals in the village and among the festivals observed in the village and the most important one is Rama Navami. During this festival the epic Ramayan is read over a period of nine days. All the people contribute to the common fund for the festival at the rate of Rs. 200/- per family. Another festival is observed in the month of Asadha (Rainy Season). Magha Purnima is one festival which was being celebrated by the entire village, the tribals and non-tribals together. But for the last few years this festival is being observed only by tribal families. Laxmi Puja is observed not as a community festival but as a household ceremony. In the month of Kartika (Autumn season) individual families observe certain rituals but there is community participation in “Kirtan” (collective singing with playing of percussion instruments and cymbals).In these festivals people from different villages come together and discuss the issues and developments required in specific areas for the conservation of their forest land.
The people of Randa have received the support of the local officers of the forest department in their effort to protect their forest. About two decades ago, some people felt that the forest protection committee should have been formally registered which would have made it more effective. Driven by such an interest, the village has been organized under JFM since 1997-98. At their request the forest department has even constructed one kilometer of road which was a priority need of the villagers. Vasundhara, an NGO who is actively working in the area has fair interaction with Randa, although largely, on forest matters. It facilitates their processes in the direction of forest protection and management. The villagers appreciate participation of Vasundhara in helping them out for filing their claims for CFR entitlement and for being with them in addressing issues over forest, redressal through forest federations. The functionaries of Vasundhara usually sit with the village forest committee about 5 to 6 times per year and help them take important decisions on forest matters through sensitization process. The villagers have good working relation with the regional forest federation.
The house site and homestead land of about 50% ST families have not been recorded on their name. It is evident that the lands under possession of STs have not been properly surveyed and settled for which they are still considered encroachers of government land. The mainstay of the village economy is agriculture. It contributes to more than 50 % of the livelihood of the villagers. For the rest, they depend on wage labour, forests etc. The government’s flagship programme MNREGS is being implemented to provide employment to the rural population, especially for those who seek wage employment under the scheme. It was ascertained that there are approximately 52 job cards in the village, but hardly any asset building work has been taken up under the scheme. Some youngsters from the village have migrated to far off places like Mumbai and Bangalore in search of livelihood. Sufficient availability of work under MNREGS which will minimize migration of youngsters from the village to far off places like Mumbai and Bangalore in search of livelihood.
The most urgent need of the community is to ensure supply of NTFPs. They look forward to facilitate regeneration and take up plantation of species that are considered important from NTFP point of view. At the same time they look forward to cash on opportunities with the WSHGs in setting up forest produce based cottage industries and enterprises.