A Story Of Lawari Gram Sabha
Lawari is a village in Gadchiroli district, located at the extreme end of Kurkheda taluka, with naxal-affected areas and forest on all sides.. Lawari is a tribal-majority village, of 94 families and 465 individuals, that faces inadequate educational facilities, proper health facilities, unemployment, lack of communication facilities, where youngsters and women and women are suffering from various problems. These tribal here mainly depend on agriculture, forest resources (secondary produce) for livelihoods. In order to consolidate this resource, a number of people in the village, especially the youngsters and the literates took the initiative to work against injustice. RR Community Forest Rights Administration Approved The Valley was introduced to them. Due to their efforts, gram sabha Lawari received 536.20 hectare, through Community Forest Rights. In 2015, Gram Aarogya organisation Ghati was introduced to Lawari village.
This organisation informed the gram sabha about Community Forest Rights. Based on this information, the task of forming a Forest Rights Monitoring Committee was organized by the Gram Sabha. Meanwhile, gram sabha Lawyer Secretary Ramu Hidami was undergoing CORO’s Grassroots Leadership Development Fellowship Program.
He started the process of empowerment the Gram Sabha. This process included - a guidelines of organising gram sabha, guidelines of financial transactions, guidelines of buying and selling of secondary yield etc. For a pilot project, they cultivated and selling bamboo successfully, enabling employment for women and men of the village. This process helped to strengthen the morale of the village, further strengthening the thought of forest protection and collective forest rights.
In 2018, Power Grade Tower company and Forest Department took a decision of cutting down 1661 trees that fell under the hectare Community Forest Rights area, without consulting Lawari gramsabha. This decision challenged the livelihoods of the people of the village because they were completely dependent on these forest resources. But Lawari gram sabha opposed this decision.
And after seven consecutive months of struggle against this decision, the losses incurred by the village due to cutting of 1661 trees was obtained from the Power Grade Company and the Forest Department with amount of Rs 1 crore 11 lakh and 26 thousand. The gram sabha made rules for proper use of this money. 94 families received an amount of 30,000 per each family. This money was used for the betterment of health facilities, education facilities, fisheries, forest resource development etc. Lawari gram sabhas also decided to help other five gram sabhas of Dhanori taluka, offering them 10 lakh each, for development, and also formed a federation along with 94 gram sabhas.
And this year, 94 gram sabha came together to produce and sell Tendupatta and received 58 Lakh 3 thousand Rs royalty. Similarly, Government schemes have been utilized constantly for various such purposes.