GPS Training Workshop in Ambikapur

GPS Training Workshop in Ambikapur

District Sarguja, Chattisgarh Dec 2-4, 2013 Organised by PACS Summary observations by Ambrish Mehta¬† and Barun Mitra Participants from about a dozen districts attended the workshop organised by PACS and its partner organisations in Chattisgarh. Over thirty people, mostly from civil society activists and community leaders participated in this three day workshop. PACS invited Ambrish Mehta of ARCH, Gujarat and Barun Mitra of Liberty Institute, New Delhi to participate in this workshop, and provide inputs on the use of GPS technology in mapping and documenting claims for forest rights. Based on the discussions at workshop, and the field visit to Jajga village about 40 km south of Ambikapur, here are some key take away points from this workshop. Chattisgarh has a relatively high number of claims filed by people (over 7.5 lakhs), and the government too has approved high number of such claims (over 3 lakhs). But the overall rate of rejection is greater more than 50 percent. Also there is a widespread complaint that much less area has been approved than that is actually cultivated by the families. There is one more issue that seems to be peculiar to Chattisgarh (and also may be MP). The state government seems to have given titles under FRA, mostly for those lands that are falling in the so called ‘Orange Areas’. These are the lands over which Nistrar rights of the local villagers were already recognized earlier and the lands were kept out of the forest compartments and transferred to the Revenue department. But there was ongoing dispute between the Forest and the Revenue departments with regard to the control of...