SANCALP - Community Leaders Network




Sustainable Action & Network through Community Leaders' Program

1st National Convention, 22nd-24th February, 2010

The National Convention of the Community Leaders was held from 22nd to 24th February 2010 at IBRAD Campus, Kolkata. 140 community leaders along with representatives from state forest departments from all the eleven states participated in the program. 

Mr. A.K.Raha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal inaugurated the program. Other dignitaries present in the inaugural function were Mr. N. K. Pandey, Chief Conservator of Forests and Nodal Officer of SANCALP, West Bengal; Mr. S. Chanda, Regional Director Eastern Region, Forest Survey of India on behalf of Ministry of Environment and Forests Government of India; Mr. P. Biswas, Conservator of Forests, Tripura and Mr. B.N. Mazumdar, Engineer in Chief and Ex officio Secretary, WRIDD, Government of West Bengal.140 participants along with representatives from the concerned forest departments have taken part in this convention.  

Lighting of lamp by Mr. A.K.Raha
PCCF, West Bengal

Address by Mr. P.Biswas, CF, Tripura

This gives a unique opportunity to the community leaders of different parts of the country to share their experiences, especially on how they have faced the challenges and overcome the hurdles to achieve the goal of natural resource conservation and have brought positive changes in the field.

Group discussion among the participants

Participants have presented their cases from all the states and again based on their presentations the panel of judges has finally selected one participant from each state to participate in the national level competition. It was really encouraging to listen to the participants on how they have handled the challenges of different dimensions like poaching of animals to stop illegal mining in Karnataka to eviction of encroachment in forest areas in Madhya Pradesh, Forest Fire Management in Bihar, Controlling Shifting Cultivation in Tripura, Community Enterprise Development through creation of Forests in Tamil Nadu, Raising and Protecting Plantations in the dry land of Rajasthan, ensuring organic cutivaltion, collection and processing of Non Timber Forest produces in Chattisgarh, soils and water conservation in the hills of Himchal Pradesh, involving tribals in developing forest based enterprises in Andhra Pradesh and meeting the challenges of man and animal conflict and disaster management in Sundarban areas. The silver lining is that all the community leaders have not only shared the challenges and problems that they have faced but have showed the way on how they have overcome the challenges by involving community and working hand in hand in cooperation with respective forest departments. 

The days were not only confined to discussing the serious issues but the participants have also show cased their talents through various kinds of cultural presentations including songs, dance, drama, recitation etc.

Cultural Program by the participants

They have also taken part in tree plantation program on the final day of the program by representatives from different states.

Recognition of the Community Leaders

The communities Leaders were rewarded for their efforts towards the cause of natural resource conservation. The esteemed Panel of Judges included Dr. A. K. Ghosh, Retired Director Zoological Survey of India, Shri P. K. Basu, Retired Secretary Irrigation and Waterways Department, West Bengal, B. N. Majumdar, Engineer in Chief and Ex officio Secretary, WRIDD, Government of West Bengal, Dr. T. K. Mishra, Principal Vidyasagar College and  Mr. B. Nijlingappa, Conservator of Forests, West Bengal.

Based on the presentations following participants were awarded in different categories:

Innovative actions

  • G.V. Ganapiah of Karnataka received the award for Best innovative practices. He has been generating electricity from the village river and distributing power to eight houses.
  • Ratan Bai from Rajasthan was the first runner up who has involved her group to prepare herbal gulal.
  • Bimal Sarkar from Jalpaiguri West Bengal is the second runner up who has been instrumental in developing movable distribution chamber for irrigation.

Distribution of awards among the winners

Problem Solving Activities

  • Chinta Devi from Bihar is the winner for raising plantation and protecting forest
  • Sundar Bai from Madhya Pradesh is the first runner up for evicting encroachment from forest areas and
  • Eswari from Tamil Nadu is the second runner up for working in convergence with the line departments and fighting against social evils like alchoholism.

Slogans on Nature Conservation

Shri Upendra Prasad Yadav of Bihar was recognized with the best slogan award followed by Har Krishan Sharma from Himachal Pradesh and Md Alam Ansari from Jharkhand.

Cultural Program

The team from Karnataka received the best prize for Cultural Performances followed by Shatu Mura from West Bengal and Tripura Team.

Best Actions in the field of Natural Resource Management

  • The award for best action went to Shri Mayaram and Thakur Ram of Chhattisgarh for working in the field of organic certification of Non Timber Forest Produces and Value addition of products through community based activities.
  • Second prize goes to Sri Ved Prakash of Himachal Pradesh for promoting soil and water conservation, forest protection and income generation for community members.
  • Third prize goes to G. V. Ganapiah of Karnataka for working against illegal mining, plantation and enterprise development.

Special Jury award

Mr. P. Ramana of Andhra Pradesh received the special jury award for his contribution in the field of Natural Resource Management in the tribal inhabitant belts.

Outcome of the National Convention

At the end of the program participants form a network to promote the cause of natural resource conservation and develop sustainable livelihood options. Each state has three representatives for their state level forum of SANCALP.

These network members will be part of different action research projects related to micro climate change, livelihood, eco system services through developing social capital.

There are encouraging results of SANCALP and this is a beginning to change. The leaders discussed how community management and related enterprises have expanded in recent years at local levels. Such meeting like SANCALP with community leaders is a growing evidence that community-based approaches have unique advantages for rural economic development and forest conservation such as in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. At the same time, there is a realisation that community-based forest management and enterprises face serious challenges, too as has been shared by Sundarbai from Madhya Pradesh, Chinta Devi from Bihar and many other participants from across the states. Several case studies shared during this national convention has projected that the potential of leaders has not been realized due to a lack of any effective community leaders network at national level to build the necessary managerial, technical and financial capacity.

There is also ample evidence that when there is a increase in conservation and management through the contributions by proper leadership, the community-based forest enterprises grew and it helped in employment and local income. A growing number of state forest departments also recognize that the trend towards community forest management and enterprises need additional attention and support for training and a network like SANCALP that provides each state to share their success story and challenges as well.