Madhya Pradesh rewards tribals for conserving forests
The Madhya Pradesh government has announced a scheme to distribute Rs 100 crore among tribals who contribute towards preserving the environment and looking after Madhya Pradesh’s forest wealth
Madhya Pradesh became the first state in India to reward people who look after the environment and forest wealth.
The national president of the state’s ruling government doled out Rs 100 crore to 14 forest and eco-conservation societies in Madhya Pradesh. The government said that tribals who looked after the forest wealth would be given a 10-20% share of the profits made from selling forest produce.
State chief minister Digvijay Singh said that this reward scheme was part of a joint forest management programme that his government was running with tribals. “As a result of the decision to distribute dividend from timber and bamboo to forest committees, to the tune of Rs 100 crore, about seven lakh families would benefit,” he claimed.
This, Singh said, was in addition to the tendu leaf bonus of Rs 100 crore given to leaf-pluckers and their societies.
Forest and eco-conservation societies have the option of distributing 75% of the money they receive among tribal members. Or, they can invest the money in other projects.
The chief minister also said that the issue of `minor offences’ under the forest laws would be withdrawn. He said that the new laws had posed problems, as many tribals were unaware of the existence of these laws. There are more than five lakh cases of `minor offences’ in the state.
Source: The Telegraph
April 12, 2003