MAMIDI PANDUGA (Yerragondapakala)

Sandula Kannapu Reddy (Hill Reddy- Premative Tribe) in Yerragondapakala village performing “MAMIDI PANDUGA” (Mango festival). Hill reddies lives on hill tops, do podu cultivation. Main occupation is vieving vinnoving basket, Big baskets for grain carrying and grain storage baskets, Mats etc. They sell their bamboo baskets in near by market, now a days middle man come to these villages and take the material to the market. 
This festival they celebrate before eating Mango. They cook food with Fox tail millet and expect the pujari (Prayer) group other villagers are not served this food. All community members gather at this place, sing and dance for some time and enjoy the day. Bow & Arrow, traditional drums (RINJA) preserved till now and can be seen in the picture. 


This year Mohva (Madhuca Indica) trees yield is very low. Every year each tree (35 Years old) will give 50 to 100 Kgs of Mohva flowers. And the season starts from first week of March and ends by 1st week of April. This year not yet any tree gave at least 5 Kgs of flower till now (31.3.2014). In our area each village have hundreds of Mohva trees as common and individual property. During these days men and old age people go to the trees at 3.30 am to gaurd the flowers from cattle and wild animals. Women and Children pick the follen flowers from the groud and make them dry under direct son. These dried flowers used for brewing arrack and used in every customary traditional event of the family and village. Marriage, death cermony, birth day function and as a payment after getting done a job for a family like bund farming, building hut etc; etc.
Asha has been studying from last 2 years for value adition to Mohva flowers by making eatables.   Last year Asha collected flowers by tying nets to the trees and arranging Tarpolyn sheets under the tree to get fresh flower. Asha tried to sale packed flowers in 100 grams packets. Prepared Mohva KALAKANDA, HALWA and JAAM. This year Asha contacted VASUNDARA of Odissa for conducting training to local tribal women in value addition of Mohva flower by making SAS, JAM, CAKE and LADDU. We hope to get good result of the activity. 


FOREST BURNS IN BHADRACHALAM (SOUTH) DIVISION: I still remember that my father used to alert village community and take them to reserve forest and Teak plantations to control the fire even in the MIDNIGHT’S. During 1966 my father was working as Forest Guard (not Forest Beat OFFICER as of now) in Gulletiwada beat of Kunduluru forest section. From last week of March to 1st week of April every year our forest BURNS, it seems like a DEEPAVALI. All the day become foggy all the forest and neighboring areas. Those days the Forest Guard and Watcher should stay in their beat head quarter and build relation with village community for helping them in forest protection and forestry works.

Now the situation become worse. Our Khammam district is at first place in the State for forest loss. Bhadrachalam south division is major affected area. People and Department say different reasons for forest loss. All field staff  are now become OFFICERS at their level as Assistant Beat Officer, Beat Officer, Section Officer and Range Officer. They stay in the Mandal head quarter because of their children education or health problems of their parents etc; etc;. No body bothers about forest burning, Podu cultivation or smuggling. They blame community, community blame them. Very surprisingly the newly appointed staff  even don’t know their beat borders. WOMEN employed in executive staff. Very sad to mention here that Field staff are now feeling very shame to wear the dress (once the dress code is pride of the department and job). Now communities are observing the changes in attitude and behavior of Department. We find hardly concern or commitment among the field staff about forest conservation, they just need to spend 30 days to get their salaries. The matter of discipline and punishments are no more. No officer can even issue a memo to his sub-ordinate or take action.

Claiming – Community Forest Rights over Bamboo in VSS areas

Standing committee meeting (29.3.2014) of Gramasabha Sirasanapalli. Discussed Agenda about transport and lotting of extracted Bamboo (from VSS area) at Sirasanapalli village. VSS members extracted 60,000 long bamboo and 30,000 bundles of Industrial cuts. The villagers has to go a long process and procedure for getting auction of material and issuing transport permit. This is first VSS in Andhra Pradesh which got reward of Rs.5.00Lakhs in 2004 as 50% share of sale proceeds of Bamboo. Now the same village going to make record of claiming CFRA (?) and getting 100% benefit as FRA 2006 defined Bamboo as NTFP (Usefructory). Villagers advised to keep all record and take consensus decisions for every action. Two things we have to face: 1. We keep all the villagers informed about the process going and building unity among the youth. 2. we have to fight to get the Transport permit from the Forest Department, Opening Bank A/c, maintenance of accounts and book keeping.  


DESTRUCTION OF BAMBOO CLUMPS IN NATURAL BAMBOO FORESTS BY Departmental Extraction of Timber: Lack of supervision, knowledge and commitment of concerned field staff of Forest Department are reasons of the destruction. Migrant labourers from Odissa works in the coupes and Local communities are also involved in harvesting of Bamboo but they are not paid as per F.S.R. (Forest Scheduled Rates) hence they collect Bamboo from easily accessible areas and culms. Since, Department getting (%) granted for loss of Bamboo clumps.  These photographs are taken in North Bamboo Coupe I Chinturu and West Bamboo Coupe I Lakkavaram on 19th March, 2014. This is not pertaining to a small area but in total 17,216 Hectares of forest earmarked in 5 Coupes of Series I during this year. One can observe the dying clumps and total destruction. Appealed to concerned Higher Officer for necessary action. Hope to get positive response. There are specimen examples that every clump worked in last season (3 years back) is died.


 32 members from 8 Vana Samrakshana Samithies participated in the programme. Sirasanapalli VSS issue delay in release of their own amount from their own account  even after harvesting 69,500 long bamboos and 3,000 Industrial cuts.  All together discussed the issues about harvesting of natural Bamboo and planted eucalyptus in their respective VSS areas – getting felling permission – selling- sharing mechanisms. Decided to meet DFO on Monday with representations of all 10 VSS.