Concern for environment, social health and human rights

Forest dependent communities

DISHA stands for the rights of the traditional forest dwelling people both for the intrinsic importance of these rights and because conservation of the forests can only be ensured by ensuring the sustainable livelihood of the traditional forest dwelling and forest using communities. DISHA has been involved with the issues of protection of rights of the forest dwelling people since 2004. Since enactment of The Scheduled Tribes and other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 in the Parliament, DISHA is advocating its implementation in West Bengal.

DISHA initiated its intervention in forest rights issues by taking part in organizing a Public Hearing at Rajabhatkhawa, Buxa Tiger Reserve on 2-3 April, 2005 convened by National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) on the plight of the forest dwellers of North Bengal.

Since 2005, DISHA has been involved in protection of fishing rights of Sundarban. DISHA is advocating implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the Sundarban areas of South and North 24 Parganas of West Bengal. Fishers in Sundarban whose livelihoods are dependent on fishing and honey collection deserve recognition of their rights under the Act.

Since 2018, DISHA is involved on the issue of implementation of Forest Rights Act in the western part of West Bengal, namely in Jangal Mahal covering the districts of Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, and Birbhum.

An interim status report on implementation of the FRA in 172 villages in Nayagram Block of Jhargram district has been prepared in September 2020. The report and the English and Bengali versions of the Executive Summary have been released. DISHA is continuing its efforts to develop awareness and capacity among the forest dwellers so that they can establish their rights in accordance with law.