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Panchgaon's community forest rights, Maharashtra, India

The people of Panchgaon faced livelihood insecurity due to denial of access to the forest that they had depended on. They struggled to obtain legal rights, becoming the first village in their district to get these rights.


Pachgaon is a small village located in the Gondpipri taluka of Chandrapur district and has a population of 60 households. Earlier the forest area in Panchgaon belonged to the malguzarsor revenue collectors, when the Malguzari system or land revenue system was prevalent in the area. Later it was declared a Reserve Forest and the villagers had no nistaar or customary rights over their forest and had to either steal resources such as firewood from the forests or bribe the forest guard. The Forest Department (FD) had monopoly over the forest. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Panchgaon's community forest rights, Maharashtra, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Chandrapur
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Bamboo, wood, biomass for grazing
Fruits and Vegetables
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

There is no company involved here but the conflict is between the forest department and the local people, mainly because of creation of a reserve forest in the region.

Project area:1,006
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:250
Start of the conflict:12/2009
Relevant government actors:Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra
Forest Department
Administrative authorities
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Paryavaram Mitra (Vijay Dethe)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Zero outmigration, Implementation of law (Forest Rights Act)
Development of alternatives:- Decentralised governance: A Gram Sabha (GS) was established to put together various management rules and principles to help with a sustainable forest governance and conservation. For example, the money from the sale of bamboo goes to the GS account. Wages are given on a monthly basis . 10% of the wages is retained to be given during the monsoon season when bamboo cutting is stopped for four months.
- The villagers have decided to stop the sale of tendu leaves (used to wrap beedi/cigarettes) and mahua flowers (used to make alcohol) due to health reasons.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Panchgaon has put in place very conservation centric management mechanism that ensures habitat conservation. There are clearly demarcated areas, Devrai, where no cutting and grazing is allowed. Increase in wildlife has been spotted. Sustainable extraction of bamboo is practised that also enables livelihood security. Overall village and forest development has happened.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Livelihood Security and Village Development through Forest Conservation in Pachgaon, Maharashtra

(A case study prepared by Sneha Gutgutia, Kavya Chowdhary and Rupesh Patil for Kalpavriksh)

10 years of the Forests Rights Act in India - Citizens Report by CFR Learning and Advocacy Group Maharashtra

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Balancing rights and responsibilities: community-based forest governance in Maharashtra
[click to view]

Other documents

Villagers of Panchgoan patrolling their forest
[click to view]

Bamboo clumps found abundantly in the forest of Pachgaon
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Arpita Lulla, Kalpavriksh, [email protected]
Last update23/11/2017
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