Geetanjali Gardens, Near ISBT, Haridwar bypass,Dehradun

Dear friends,

It is our great pleasure to invite you to the 4th National conference of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers to be held on 26-28 May 2012 in Dehradun Uttarakhand. Delegates from constituent groups/organizations and fraternal organizations from 20 states, representing more than 50 forest regions will participate in the conference. A number of national  trade union leadership is also invited to this conference. Delegates from the neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and  Pakistan are also going to attend the conference. A number of international organizations are also invited.

On 26th May, a one day public hearing will be organized on the issue of “National Parks and Forest Rights Act”. Formal proceeding of the organizational conference will start after the Public Hearing. As you may be aware that Forest right movement today is passing through a critical phase. This is also very challenging period which will decide the fate of forest people and that of the forest in India i.e. whether the forest and forest people should remain under the domain of Indian state which is under seize of big corporations, under the neo-liberal regime or should it be within a democratic framework under a system of people’s governance. With the passing of the legislation on forest, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the forest based working communities have come under increasing attack from the forest bureaucracy supported by mafias, local feudal and vested interests (including illegal mining contractors) in a very organized manner across the country. This attack is also supported by the dominant political class. There is also a deepening environmental and ecological crisis threatening the society. Therefore, the question of ecological justice vis-à-vis profiteering and capital accumulation is a pertinent question of this hour. This has given rise to significant growth of resistance movements against such attack across the country. This resistance movement in some areas has grown in developing alternatives against the present dominant regime. There is a direct conflict of interests between the communities and the Indian State on the issue of forest governance. It is also evident that political consciousness of struggling people has grown unprecedentedly manifesting in newer methods of resistance and in creating alternatives for the protection of resources and that of livelihood and also for the future organizational process. Such struggles are going on in Kaimur region (of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh), Rewa, Dudwa N.P Lakhimpur Khiri UP,Tarai region bordering Nepal in U.P.& Uttarakhand, Assam, Himanchal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Javari hills in Tamil Nadu. Along with this strong resistance movements are going on in Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan,  Another significant process that has been started independently by women groups to attain their forest rights with the formation of “women forest rights action committee”. Women groups in many areas are giving new dimensions in the forest right movement by creating alternative model of community forest governance through collective effort. Along with this the movement of fish workers’ struggle, tribal struggle against illegal mining and peasant movements against SEZ and land acquisition are creating new political space against the neo-liberal regime.

NFFPFW recognizes this historic process and resolves to take appropriate action plan to strengthen the organizational process so that it can provide a sustainable political leadership to forest rights movement through a dynamic process. Such a situation has also necessitated basic changes in structure of organization building as new forces are emerging in creating new form of leadership especially among the women and youth. These new forces are challenging the state and working towards a radical change of the society instead of traditional ways of pleading and lobbying. This phenomenon is urgently needed to be consciously incorporated in the organizational building process. The present political challenges demand some major changes in the organizational process also. The emerging consciousness of the community leadership must be reflected in the organizational structure, so that the movement and the leadership correspond to each other realistically. Symbolic community leadership will not be effective. The leadership which has grown in the struggle process needs to be brought in the forefront. Self strengthening of the emerging new leadership from the communities and especially that of women and young groups has to be strengthened in the organizational process. In this context the national conference of NFFPFW will emphasize on these key issues:

1. Setting the political agenda for the collective struggle by the natural resource based traditional working people against the neo-liberal regime.
2. Strengthening the self strengthening process of community leadership in the forest rights movement and also in the organization process to create an alternative forest governance system under the community leadership across the country.
3. Strengthening of women leadership at all levels in the movement and in the organization from local to national level.
4. Propagating and strengthening the collective process of production and reproduction of natural resources i.e. forestry, agriculture, fisheries and mining.
5. Strategic alliance building with other natural resource based working people’s organizations focusing on vulnerable areas and with the workers’ movements.

These serious political and organizational issues in regards to forest right movement needs to be discussed within the organization and it is equally important to discuss all such issues with the fraternal organizations who are working in the field of natural resources and with the working people in general. As you may be aware that on 15 December 2011 a mass protest rally on forest rights was held before the Parliament and this was followed by the formation of “Federation of Natural Resource Based Traditional Working People” in the founding convention held on 16 December 2011 at Mavlankar Hall, New Delhi. The strengthening of Federation will be a crucial issue for discussion in the national conference of NFFPFW. The national committee has taken a decision to involve fraternal organizations and other alliance organizations in future programmes so that formation of a wider alliance of the working people could be developed. An organizing committee for the fourth conference of NFFPFW has been formed with representation from all the struggling areas that also needs to be expanded with the consent of other comrades.

In this context, we understand that your participation will be very crucial in this conference. We cordially invite you to participate in this conference and help the process to take forward in facing the challenges of neo-liberal regime attacking our natural resources. We will appreciate an early confirmation from your end.

The details of venue will be followed in the next letter. Kindly block your dates in advance. We will take care of boarding and lodging. Kindly bear your own travel cost.

In Solidarity,
On behalf of Organizing Committee,
Munnilal (convenor NFFPFW Uttarakhand),Gautam Bandhopadhaya ( M.P/ Chhatisgarh), Ganga Arya ( Uttarakhand), Matadyal, Rani ( M.P and Bundelkhand UP), Balkeshwar and Kamladevi (Bihar), Rajnish, Shanta Bhattaracharjee, Roma, Ashok Choudhury, Ramchandra Rana, Ramesh Shukla, Nathu kol, Rajkumari Bhuiya (Uttar Pradesh), K.Krishnan, Amni (Tamil Nadu), Guman singh (Himachal Pradesh),  Sushovan Dhar (West Bengal), Kishore Thapa, Shiva Sonwar (Gorkhaland), Vijay Jena,Arjun Bhai (Odisha), Sarang Dhabekar (Maharashtra), Roy David,Kaveri (Karnataka), Sanichar Agaria, Vasavi Kiro (Jharkhand), Mamta Kujur (Chattisgarh), Vedanta, Mridula (Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam).

Dehradun is the capital city of state of Uttarakhand. 65% of the state is forest area and there have been many historic forest right movements in different regions of Uttarakhand during the colonial period and also in Indipendent India.

Approach to Dehradun via Road, Air and Train route: Dehradun is well connected by railway from Chennai, Trivandram, Vijaywada, Nagpur, Itarsi, Bhopal, Jhansi, Gaya, Agra, Delhi, Haridwar, Lucknow, Howrah, Mumbai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Indor, Ujjain, Kota (Table no 75, Trains at a glance). Nearest major railway junction is Saharanpur for North eastern,eastern,western, regions.There are regular bus connection from Delhi(Anand Vihar I.S.B.T) and two daily flights from Delhi. Since May will be tourist season for the hills we would request you to book your ticket at the earliest.

Contact details : Vipin Gairola ( 09412348071), Munnilal (09412990913), Ashok chowdhury(09412231276)

Near Homeguard Commandant Office

Saraswati Vihar] Kargi Chowk
Haridwar Bypass
DEHRADUN – 248661 (Uttrakhand)
Contact : 09412990913 (Muni Lal) 09412348071 (Vipin Gairola)
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