The First Small And Medium Forest Enterprise In India


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An article on the historical event of establishing the first Small and Medium Forest Enterprise in India, with the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) of tribal artisans at Potka under Dhalbhum Forest Development Agency, East Singhbhum, Jharkhand. SUSANTA BISWAS has

made a documentary on this historical incident titled "Artistic approach", which was selected for the 8th International Social Communication Cinema Conference 2009.

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The First Small And Medium Forest Enterprise In India

  1. 1. পালিক ৭ The first Small and Medium Forest Enterprise in India: Susanta Biswas T he ever-increasing pressure on forest areas for variety of potentially conflicting uses makes it important to find not only ecological and social, but also economic incentives, for managing forests in a sustainable manner. The awareness programs and regulatory acts seldom become effective without the provision of alternate income generation for the poorest section of the society. The socio-economic survey carried out in the forest fringe villages clearly showed that illiteracy, unemployment and poor socio-economic conditions of the surrounding people are the main causes of the destabilization of the forest land. The development of local forest-based enterprises represents an opportunity for strengthening the livelihoods of poor, forest-dependent people, at the same time providing an economic incentive to conserve forests through the maintenance of its area and its species composition over a long period of time. Government of India, as a part of its state planning under the eleventh plan, is promoting Small and Medium Enterprise, to enhance the rural income and ensure rural development. National Afforestation and Eco- development Board, as a working body of Ministry of Environment and Forests, is facilitating Joint Forest Management Committees for their sustenance by implementing seven Small and Medium Forest Enterprise pilot projects through its Regional Centers in seven different regions. Among which the Regional Centre at Jadavpur University of Kolkata successfully established the first SMFE in India, under Dhalbhum FDA, East Singhbhum, Jharkhand in 2007-08. The first SMFE in India is established at The nine Joint Forest Management Committees East Singbhum, Jharkhand under consideration in Dhalbhum Forest Development Agency include Mejogora, Harina, Narayanpur, Roteda, Dhengam, Bhukamdih, Kundrukocha, Ranikudar and Monahdih, consisting of twenty villages at Potka Developmental Block in East Singbhum district of Jharkhand. It is situated near the Hata-Musabani Road, at a distance of about sixty kilometers to the south of Tatanagar, the industrial city of Jamshedpur. The tribal villagers of this forest fringe area are either small or marginal farmers with less than one hectare of farmland – which causes their dependence on forest for fuel wood, fodder and part of livelihood. The approach of forest management in participatory mode takes place by the introduction of Joint Forest Management Committees with a benefit sharing mechanism. Close and regular interactions with these committees help identify the artifacts which make the tribal people living in and around forests self-sufficient enough to run an enterprise by sustainable harvesting of Non- Timber Forest Produce (NTFP). Generating revenue for the people living in forest fringe villages through local forest products based enterprise, exploring the importance of crafts in India and looking at the social and economic significance of the crafts as a means of sustainable livelihood option are important indeed. পালিক পড়ুন o পড়ানঃ
  2. 2. পালিক ৭ The artisans, heir to the people's traditions, play an important role in the equation of Indian society and culture. The bold local styles that the village artisans evolve operate as a great lever in the evolution of Indian art, adding to the wealth and variety of color and design. Adding some technological innovations with indigenous technologies, as well as intensive skill development training programmes for potential Joint Forest Management Committee members on Agro forestry, processing of NTFP and Bamboo based items production, and Tassar and Lac cultivation are required for enhancing the livelihood opportunities of the tribal people. The bold local styles of the village artisans The antique traditional art of grass mat weaving is an age old practice among the village folk. Rhizobium grass, locally called ‘Gondha’ which grows on the river bed in the countryside of Jharkhand, and brightly colored thread are the major raw materials along with the rural technology of shuttle-less looms for the grass mat weaving art. Bamboos are also used in making artifacts, like baskets, containers, and various consumer products. The antique traditional art of grass mat Bamboo used in making various consumer products Motivation and training, succeeded by guidance and entrusting responsibility to the local communities, increase forest cover and preserve it to ensure livelihood of forest communities. It also helps to eradicate poverty and unemployment. The womenfolk, being the true protector of forests, maintain balance between the utilization of forest produce and preservation of forests along with its flora and fauna, culture and society at large. Forming and strengthening self-help groups (SHG) with the aim of making the poorest women economically empowered is necessary. The groups begin by mobilizing their own resources to start the process of empowerment. Regular savings and intra-lending and opening of bank accounts make the groups eligible for credit linkages with banks for making credit available to the poor rural artisans. পালিক পড়ুন o পড়ানঃ
  3. 3. পালিক ৭ It is realized that the SHGs are the tools to promote rural savings and gainful employment. Collecting the raw materials from forests like Gondha grass, Bamboo and other allied materials, weaving and carving artistic products showing great dexterity, and selling the artifacts to the national markets by participating in various handicraft fairs comprise different activities of the self-help groups. The Regional Centre, National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, a centre under Forming and strengthening SHGs the Ministry of Environment & Forest of the Government of India, initiated the implementation of project components with socio-economic survey workshop in Harina Ashram which is at the central place of Potka block. They have organized workshops on project preparation, training sessions on Self- Help Group formation, review meet of different stake-holders and exclusive training programmes for Grass-mat apparel preparation, Bamboo craft, Tassar and Lac cultivation and other NTFP products. The choice of the activity was backed by existing traditional knowledge on making the products Motivating the local communities to increase forest cover which helped the people to easily adopt the new modernized lessons. A state level buyers-sellers meet, Banaja Shilpa Mela, was organized in Jamshedpur at the end of March 2008 to give the tribal villagers and their produces a nation- wide market exposure, and establish convergence with different other organizations and sectors, like various Government departments for development of funds, Bankers for regular credit flow, Insurance companies for social security, District Rural Development Agency and Jharkhand Tribal Development Society for infrastructure Making the poorest women economically empowered development, and Corporate Sectors for marketability of the products. পালিক পড়ুন o পড়ানঃ
  4. 4. পালিক ৭ State level buyers sellers meet Banaja Shilpa Mela was organized at Jamshedpur; LEFT: Informational CD containing audio-visual documentation on the first SMFE building in India The principal aim of the National Forest policy is to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance including atmospheric stability which is vital for sustenance of all life forms. Improving the livelihood of the forest fringe tribes with the value addition has resulted in increase in the forest cover in Potka block and raise of per diem income substantially. The Self-Help Groups of tribal artisans, dwelling in the forest fringe villages and forming well motivated Joint Forest Management Committees, are actively getting involved with Small and Medium Forest Enterprises for preserving and protecting the forest with an artistic approach. [Grateful acknowledgement: Prof. Dr. Asis Mazumdar, Jt. Co-ordinator, Regional Center at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, of National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India; The article is written on the subject on which Biswas has directed a documentary film named ‘Artistic approach’. The film – produced by the Regional Centre, NAEB – took part in the 8th International Social Communication Cinema Conference 2009 organized by Roopkala Kendro, an Indo Italian Institute of Film and Social Communication, Department of Information & Cultural পালিক পড়ুন o পড়ানঃ
  5. 5. পালিক ৭ Affairs, Government of West Bengal on February 19, 2009, at Nandan, Kolkata and was also accepted for telecasting in the National Network of Doordarshan] Susanta Biswas is a multi-faceted personality – a Documentary Film Maker, Corporate Writer, Translator and Editor of the webzine Charcha. A graduate in English Literature and postgraduate in Public Relations, Susanta was associated with Doordarshan Kendra Kolkata, as a Newscaster, and presently with the Regional Centre, NAEB, Jadavpur University, Kolkata under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. পালিক পড়ুন o পড়ানঃ