With contractors not responding to tenders floated by a majority of gram sabhas that have acquired community forest rights (CFRs) under Forest Rights Act (FRA),the state government has decided to buy tendu through Tribal Development Corporation (TDC).
Only 24 of the 196 gram sabhas that received government nod to hold tendu leaves plucking auctions,conducted by the state since the beginning,received bids from contractors. Rs 22 crore has been given to the corporation to buy unsold units of 22 villages in Gadchiroli,Gondia and Melghat (Amravati), principal secretary (forest) Pravin Pardeshi said. We have decided to buy tendu from 22 gram sabhas through TDC and are trying to get contractors to respond to tenders of others. TDC will buy tendu from all gram sabhas that will not get response, he said.
Activists,however,flayed the government. Mohan Hirabai Hiralal said: Tendu is a centralised and contractor-based system. Before granting rights to gram sabhas,government should have evolved a mechanism to enable villages to build capacity. It rushed to grant them permission to hold auctions. Finally,government,which has been opposed to CFRs,will point fingers at gram sabhas for failing to conduct tendu business.