ICSFDC News Alerts

West Bengal: Restore Forest Dwellers' Rights In Sundarban June 17,2016   |  Source: Forestrights

Project Tiger has turned the forest dependent fishers, honey and fuel wood collectors and shell gatherers of Sundarban into trespassers in their own land.

More than half of the total area under tiger project is completely closed to people and has been declared as Core Area. The rest of the tiger project area has been declared as Buffer and a very limited number of people is allowed entry there.

Before imposition of these bans and restrictions on peoples' livelihood activities there has been no consultation with the people who from their ancestral times fished in all the creeks and rivers of Sundarban, collected honey and firewood from its jungles and gathered shells from river beds.

Thus started the era of enslavement of the forest dependent people of Sundarban. Physical assaults, abuses, fines, confiscations by the forest staff became the order of the day. Even the passage of Forest Dwellers' Rights Act in 2006 made no difference. West Bengal Government has been stubthe bornly reluctant to implement FRA in Sundarban.

Certainly tortures and restrictions can never be the last word where peoples' livelihood is at stake. Peoples' resistance grew and with this Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum became the banner of fishers' resistance in Sundarban.

Many a successful

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)