Conflict between tribal and government over sale of tendu leaves

Tags: State News

In Chhattisgarh, the situation of controversy has started deepening these days over the sale of tendu patta i.e. Diospyros melanoxylon.

  • People of more than 50 villages in two districts have decided to sell tendu patta on their own.

  • Due to which the dispute between the tribal-dominated village and the forest department of Chhattisgarh government has started gaining momentum.

  • The state government says that tendu leaves have been nationalised, so only the government can sell them.

  • On the other hand, tendu patta collectors are referring to the Forest Rights Act and the 2013 Supreme Court judgement in the famous Niyamgiri case.

  • Tendu Patta collectors are preparing to register an FIR accusing forest department officials of committing excesses, illegal acts.

  • What are Tendu Leaves?

  • Leaves of Tendu tree are used as wrappers of tobacco to produce bidi.

  • Due to its wide availability, this leaf is considered as the most suitable cover.

  • Tendu is also known as 'Green Gold' and is a major minor forest produce in India.

  • Trade of Tendu leaves

  • In 1964, the trade of tendu leaves was nationalized in undivided Madhya Pradesh.

  • Earlier, people were free to sell Tendu leaves in the market across the country.

  • This was followed by Maharashtra in 1969, Andhra Pradesh in 1971, Odisha in 1973, Gujarat in 1979, Rajasthan in 1974 and Chhattisgarh in 2000.

  • Under this arrangement, the forest department of the state gets the tendu leaves collected, gives the permission for transportation and also sells them to the traders.

  • Cause of dispute

  • The dispute is about who has the right to sell the leaves.

  • State governments claim they can sell  due to nationalization.

  • Tendu leaf collectors, on the other hand, refer to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and the 2013 Supreme Court judgement in the Niyamgiri case to say that private collectors can sell them on their own.

  • Tendupatta collectors allege that the government gives them a lower price for the leaves, while they get a higher price in the open market.

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