20th May 2012, Dindori
On May 20, the first leg of the Yatra was at district headquarters of Dindori district in Mahakaushal
area where a general meeting was organized by Ekta Parisad. Mr Onkar Singh Markam, MLA from Dindori said that publicity of the Forest Rights Act was not yet properly done due to which government employees were not fully aware of the purposes and spirit of the law. In reality, implementation of the Forest Rights Act has been left entirely in the hands of irresponsible government employees. According to official records, only 6814 people have been given papers of Forest Rights in the district, where as over 50,000 eligible occopants are still waiting to get their rights which should be managed. Nanhu Baga of village Titrahi said that after Forest Rights Act, the approach of Forest Department had become more aggressive against tribals than ever before. Incidents of destruction of harvest, seizing of oxen, axes and plows have incresed unexpectedly. Lalla Singh Baiga of village Banjra said that in deed the Forest Rights Act is based on to cure the year 1980 excesses of the Forest Department but the claims filed under the Act is not being seen in the light to make up that historic injustice. The role of Baiga Development Authority, established for the development of tribes, is also doubtful. For example, the price for Tendu leaves has been paid here at the rate of Rs. 75 per hundred while the same has been done at the rate of Rs 110 per hundred in Chhattisgarh. He told that regional imbalances of this type should be removed. He said that in the proposed dam area of Baragi, the villages like Damititrahi, Banjra, Fitari, Python and Gurakanhari would be fully displaced. Sukkal Singh Rathuria of the village Dhaba said that on last December 15, 2011, the common rights for the village Dhaba were settled under which pproximately
3830 acres of land were demarcated for Nistar (community use) and development of the villagers. He informed that it was only in the villages like Ranjra, Jiland, Lamota, Chapra and Kanhari that the community rights on common land has been successfully settled. He requested that the Jansatyagraha should raise the issue to settle such rights as demanded by village councils of all other Panchayats in the area. He expressed confidence that it was only through the restoration of community rights that the Gram Sabhas could become self-sufficient.