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Title: Forest Policy Induced Social Exclusion: A Case Study of Forest Villages of Buxa Tiger Reserve
Other Titles: SOCIAL TRENDS, Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2016 P 70 - 87
Authors: Debnath, Bijoy
Keywords: annexation
social exclusion
forest - village
Issue Date: Mar-2016
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: Annexation of forest by creating reserves through various legislations and destruction of forest resulted in loss of livelihood and marginalization of the forest dependent communities. The communities (tribal and other traditional forest dweller) depend on forest for various needs such as shelter, livelihood, culture, etc. Conservation regime had denied them all, even today they do not have the rights on the land they till. Panchayati raj institution introduced in late 1990s in forest villages (forest dependent community) face various obstacles in carrying out land based development as the land belongs to forest department. The policy of protected area brought unemployment and deprivation in livelihood for forest villagers. The paper attempts to identify this multidimensional phenomenon, encompassing livelihood, education, health, dignity and voice in determining resource allocation. The concept of ‘social exclusion’ has been applied to understand this phenomenon, as it is both cause and consequence of poverty. ‘Social exclusion’ may be conceptualized from the different ways in which disadvantage operates to circumscribe the opportunities available in a society. For the case study we have selected Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) because this forest has witnessed virtually every forest policy and act. Secondly, this forest has relatively higher concentration of forest villages than other forests of North Bengal. We may conclude that the forest dependent community or forest villagers historically had suffered worst kind of social exclusion. Commoditization of forest resources in colonial era and in independent India benefited the elite rulers, landed elites, industrialists, traders and planters. Our survey suggests that the prevailing situation in BTR in terms of functioning of panchayat, educational facilities, healthcare facilities and institution building is indicative of the worst kind of disadvantages over opportunities. A situation has emerged where peoples’ livelihood is overshadowed by the so-called prerequisites of modern conservation ethos.
ISSN: 2348-6538
Appears in Collections:Vol. 3 No. 1 (March 2016)

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