Bond with people

Rajeev Ahal . Published by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development . Kathmandu . 2002 . 71 pages

It is a book that delves deep into the alienation of local people from forest management in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The thought-provoking document probes the details of how the legality of erstwhile Kangra Forest Cooperative Societies (KFCS), which was doing commendable work in community forestry till 1971, was not recognised by the Himachal Pradesh (HP) Forest Department. Despite being downplayed and placed in suspended animation, many of these cooperatives are still active and alive at the ground level. The book makes a strong case for their revival. The book also points out that the Participatory Forest Management (PFM) projects of the HP Forest Department seem to be just an eyewash to attract substantial foreign funds. It suggests mainstreaming PFM, changing forest land use and reclassifying forest lands.