MUMBAI: Union minister Jairam Ramesh's order notwithstanding, the state forest department is unwilling to transfer the rights over harvesting bamboos to forest dwellers. The department currently holds the right to harvest bamboo in the state.

As Mendha Lekha becomes the first village in India to exercise their communities right to harvest and freely sell bamboo under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), Down To Earth takes a look at the key players.

Mendha-Lekha, a remote village in the Maoist-affected Gadchiroli district of eastern Maharashtra, has become the first in the country where tribals have been given the right to sell bamboo harvested from the surrounding forests, an official said.

The villagers, numbering around 3,000, attended the function Wednesday when village head Devaji Tofa was handed over a transit passbook, enabling the

Gram Sabhas given equal say in Forest Rights Act

After a long battle with the Forest Department, this village in a remote, Naxal-affected part of the state on Thursday became the first village in the country to become eligible to own, cut, use and sell bamboo

Union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh, along with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, on Wednesday launched a programme giving tribals right to harvest bamboo as a forest produce in a tribal village here.

Ramesh and Chavan handed over transit passes to tribals of Lekha Mendha village thus according them the right of harvesting and managing bamboo as a forest produce.

Mendha Lekha village in Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra will become the first in the country to get the right to harvest and sell bamboo after 150 years. The right to harvest and sell bamboo was taken away by the British government over 150 years ago under the Indian Forest Act. Since then bamboo has been under the control of government.

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, who is all set to flag off harvesting of bamboo by villagers under the new Forest Rights Act, is facing severe embarrassment from the Maharashtra government which has threatened to arrest those who do so.

Ramesh is all set to kick off harvesting of bamboo by the villagers of Mendha Lekha in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli village on Wednesday.