Vulnerable tribal group 'Kamar' in Chhattisgarh's Dhamtari district gets habitat rights

The Kamar tribe families living in 22 settlements in Magarlod development block of Dhamtari district will be benefited by the move

Representative image of tribals (Photo: Getty Images)
Representative image of tribals (Photo: Getty Images)


The 'Kamar' tribe in Chhattisgarh's Dhamtari district, which is a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), has received habitat rights, which would help in the protection of their culture and livelihood means and enable the government to work for their development, officials said on Thursday.

Kamar is the first PVTG in the state to get such status, they claimed.

The Kamar tribe families living in 22 settlements in Magarlod development block of Dhamtari district will be benefited by the move.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel handed over the habitat rights certificates to heads of these 22 settlements on Wednesday, on the occasion of the World Tribal Day.

The Kamar tribe members mainly reside in Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund and Kanker districts. Their population as per the 2011 census was 26,630, Chhattisgarh's Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste development department commissioner Shammi Abidi told PTI.

The recognition of habitat rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) would not only help in protection and promotion of customary arrangements, culture, tradition, livelihood means, habitat of the PVTG by officially documenting them, but also enable the government to work for their empowerment and development of their areas through schemes of various departments, officials said.

“This is the first time that habitat rights have been given to a PVTG in the state. With this move, Chhattisgarh has become the second state in the country to have issued such a right to a PVTG after neighbouring Madhya Pradesh,” Abidi said.

Chhattisgarh has five PVTGs declared by the Centre that include the Abujmadia, Baiga, Kamar, Birhor and Hill Korva, while the state government has given the PVTG status to two tribal groups- Pando and Bhunjia, she said. .

Habitat rights is a special provision under the Forest Rights Act (FRA)-2006, specially meant for the recognition of traditional rights of PVTG/Pre-agricultural Communities while community forest rights extend to all types of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs), she said.

The official said habitat rights include rights of habitation and customary habitat of a PVTG community. Under this, the habitat is defined in four parameters-- demographic and geographic composition of the PVTG, socio-cultural parameters and cultural intangibles, economic parameters and ecological and knowledge of biodiversity including traditional knowledge, she said.

The habitat right is recognised over customary territories. The territory/habitat of Kamar tribe is divided into sub-habitats which are called as Pali and the sub-habitat comprise multiple para/tola (settlements), the official said.

Every para/tola has a traditional leader called 'Mukhdihvar' and every Pali has a traditional leader named 'Mudadaar'. They have a distinct social structure of administration and cultural system. The habitat right also recognises such social, cultural systems, she said.

Efforts will soon be made to give similar rights to the Kamar tribe in other areas of Chhattisgarh as well as other PVTGs in the state, she added.

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