Gumla | 26-27 August 2017
A meeting was organized by Global Greengrants Fund at St. Ignatius College, Gumla, Jharkhand on 26th and 27th August 2017. The purpose was to gather organizations to discuss their vision on Jharjhand. Key persons included Michael (GGF), Gaurav (GGF), Mansi (Himachal), Philip, Bhargav (GGF) and Vasvi (Ranchi). Jharkhand’s 26.3% population is tribal and mostly forest dwellers. Their rights are violated now and then. Even Forest Rights Act can’t protect their exploitation during coal mining and other projects which deprive them of their claim on forest resources.
In Jharkhand protestation has become difficult and current FCRA is squeezing the space for NGOs. Activists (or Civil Society Organizations) have reduced to mere policy implementing agencies. CSOs are not allowed to criticize government and activists are not able to work because of police threats.
Manshi Asher facilitated groups’ formation under 5 categories to hold discussion on challenges and support which were, Social Justice, Economic Justice, Livelihoods Justice, Political Justice, and Networking. Social justice included challenges faced by women, dalits and tribals and also the restraints faced by NGOs in their efforts towards empowerment of these communities.
Economic and livelihood justice challenges focused on forest dwellers that are declared encroachers and clauses of Forest Rights Act are often not comprehensible. Tribal farmers being told by outsiders to use a hybrid seed just to promote large fertilizer companies. There is a need to find out if coal mining in Jharkhand has some effect on reducing fisheries productivity. It is imperative to find out how different livelihoods in Jharkhand are correlated and affect each other.
Political justice challenges highlighted how gram sabhas are fragmented to dilute their effect on the forest clearance for large projects. A no. of small and fragmented gram sabhas are held by different names like mahila gram sabha, adivasi gram sabha so as to prevent a unified resistance against the projects.
Networking group talked about how media can spread the messages of protests to the masses. Social media has a huge outreach at present. A few social Volunteers are doing their part by uploading videos of tribal agitation.
Michael, Gaurav and Bhargav, GGF representatives, explained in detail the dos and don’ts to organizations which the organizations should follow while filling proposals. FCRA is government’s tool to reduce democratic space for NGOs. CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) and DMF (District Mineral Foundation) are another ways to siphon off money in the name of plantation. A brief overview about PAIRVI’s work was given by Ravina.