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A landmark was reached in the history of India’s tribal people on April 27. On that day, the people of Mendha Lekha in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra were to walk into the nearby forest and cut bamboo. Such enterprise was strictly prohibited till that day, because bamboo is supposed to have been produced in a forest and the forest belongs to the government; taking away a bamboo for a rafter was strictly theft of government property. City people may have noticed no shortage of bamboo; bamboo furniture has always been popular amongst the arty types. Most of that bamboo comes from the Northeast, also supposed to be a part of India, but things work a bit more smoothly there. The tribal people there took to arms and, rather than aggravate them, the government decided to look the other way. So a commercial network developed there which harvests bamboo and sends it elsewhere in the country for a good commission. More recently, tribal people elsewhere began to learn from their northeastern compeers and took to arms. The government branded them Maoists and began to kill them. But now it has sought ways of pacifying them; the disqualification of bamboo as forest produce is the first step.

When the government begins to love a people, it is in danger of falling in love. Now the minister of environment is talking not only of denotifying various forest products so that tribal people can access them, but also of introducing minimum support prices for them. So, soon there will be a new, lethargic Forest Produce Corporation of India. It will appoint babus in every tribal village. Tribal people who bring notified forest produce will be able to come and sell it at fixed prices.

Now there are MSPs for only about half a dozen grains, and the government buys substantial quantities of only two ?wheat and rice. Soon there will be MSPs for beehives, foxtails and herbal leaves; the list of things the babus will buy may run into thousands. Once they have bought these exotic items, they will have to market them; who will buy them but the arty types who stroll into the government’s cottage industry emporia? But even they may not provide a large enough market for such a variety of products; so the government may have to create a Forest Produce Export Corporation of India. And even exports may not absorb the entire produce; so there will have to be a Forest Produce Warehousing Corporation of India. Altogether, there will be considerable employment for lowly, nitpicking government servants; how much they will appropriate, and how much will go in the end to the tribal people, is a question that cannot be answered now. But if past experience is anything to go by, this is going to be a way of creating a new tribe of babus, and not one of helping any old tribe.



Author: Zhejiang XinYuan Bamboo Products Co.,Ltd.
Main Product:bamboo furniture,bamboo flooring

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