Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tribes and Bamboo Resources









BAMBOO RESOURCES AND TRIBALS:

To find out the impact of bamboo extraction by ITC – BPL for pulp and paper from the forest areas on the local tribal communities, Gulletiwada Village was selected, since two tribal communities were found to coexist.

Gulletiwada is a small village situated at about 21 kms from Chinturu(Figure) , in the range of BCM(S) division, The village is situated in the interior area of rekapalli reserve forest area, not accessible by public transport mode.  To approach this village one has to use a two wheeler or depend upon the lorries which go to the bamboo coupes.  This village has 84 houses, with population of 247 koyas and 97 kondareddies.

Koyas are settled agriculturists practice “Chelaka Podu” and collect NTFP’s during the season, and these products are sold at Girijana Cooperative Society Chinturu and its outlets.  Major NTFP’s of the area are honey and gums of sterculias, Acacias, Terminalias which are collected during monsoon period.  They daily go to foreset for the collection of fire wood andy they hunt any animal which comes in the way which become their delicious meal for the day. 

Konda reddies are primitive tribe of the region generally prefer staying at Hill tops where the water sources are available on the basis of physical features.  Kondaredies habitat can be divided into three distinct zones.

1). The Hill settlements   2) The riverside settlement      3). The Settlements of the lower Agency tract and Plains.

Only during the last ten years Kondareddies came in contact with the outside world, mainly due to the extraction of bamboo as raw material for paper industry  but their major work being the preparation of articles out of bamboo.  These articles are sold(only to outsiders and in weekly markets) otherwise they generally barter their products for millets, pulses, grams, rice , chilies etc.

Tribals have their own classification of the bamboo stand (D. strictus) which is as follows (personal communication from Konda Reddi and Koyas).

1).  MODATI POTU                       : These are the tender bamboo of 4-6cm gbh which are thin
                                                                  to medium size, cut at bottom and used for sugarcane
  props and hut building.

2).  MEDARA VEDURU              : This is a medium thickness of 8-12 cm ghb generally                                                                       used for basket making.  The most important                                                                       requirement is that outer skin should be intact.


3).  BARU VEDURU                     :  Its of medium thichness with 13-16 cm gbh used for
   House construction and also used for toddy                        collection.

4).  KANNATHI                              :  It is usually of 18 cm gbh in girth of shorter lengths,                                                        used for afters in house building.

5).  KAVADI BADDALU              :   Split “ Bambusa aruddinacia “ used as shoulder                                                                                 shafts to Carry loads. About 250 go to a cart load.

6.) THOTA GEDALU                 :   Used for pushing and manouvaring boats and are                                                         thick  and in full length (D. Strictus)

7).  MULUKOLA KARRALU:  This sticks of D. Strictus used for goading cattle.                                                                                About 1,200 go to a card load.

Bamboo required for the preparation of various articles are tender in nature i.e. one year old culms.  Only for few articles two year old culms are used (Table -  ) for the purpose of collecting bamboo, Kondareddis leave for the forest during the early hours of the day and return bank by late afternoons or some times even during evening.  This work is generally done by women and men assist when they are having Leisure, other wise the latter take care of agriculture and hunting.  The bamboo they search for is generally 12-16 m tall and with a gbh of 14 cms.  The collected bamboo is brought to their homes and are split open into 4-6 long cuts and then further processed into small thin flakes using a special hand made platform and a sickle like instrument and then are allowed to get dried up for one to two days (two day drying makes articles more stiffer).  Then the flakes are moistened with water for softening and sewn to get a desired shape of the article.  Subsequently, these are subjected to smoke to obtain better durability.  The finished articles, ready for sale  are taken to weekly market centers.  These are bartered to the locals i.e. Koyas mainly, where bartering rate differes according to article and size.




In addition for making articles, those tribal communities use bamboo for various other purposes, as follows:

  • Use it for making houses where walls, doors are made up of bamboo and the house roof is thatched with phoenix leaves.  Then the entire house is spread with mud coating.
  • Use the cut portion of a bamboo culm  i.e. upto 2nd node for cooking meat.  They fill the cut culm with meat, cover the culm opening with a leaf and bake it in fire.  It is said that meat cooked in this manner tastes better than the traditional cooking.  Now families as BONGU CHICKEN in Maredumilly area of East Godavari District.
  • Use long bamboo culms as ladder.  The bamboo culms are tied to the palmyra tree tree which have less gbh, so that they can get effective grip while climbing (Plage – 19).


Long tender bamboo culms preferably Bambus Arundinaces (Mullu veduru, Telugu Vern.) are used for toddy trapping After harvesting the bamboo its outer skin is peeled out and allowed to dry for 1-2 days then,  it is cut at each node, cleaned and then baked in fire to get a fine finish.  They prefer culms of gbh more than 30 cms.  This processed bamboo culm is then used for collection of toddy which has a special taste and hence fetches the higher price in comparison to other collection materials unfortunately, this bamboo is locally extinct any they have to be imported form Maredmilli (East Godawar) forests.  This has led to the replacement of Bambus arudinacea with D. Strictus for toddy trapping leading to slight bitter taste and hence reduced income.

From discussions with the tribal people, it was evident that they were facing severe shorage of Bamboo (D. Strictus)as indicated by the longer distance they have to travel now (2 – 4 Kms) to collect bamboo in comparison to 50 m.  about six to seven years back.  They feel that the entry of ITC – BPL in the harvesting scene has led to this problem.  Even though the entry of ITC – BPL has provided a source of income as they do go as labour for felling bamboo during felling period, road repair works for coupes,  it cannot be denied that the traditional bamboo crafts earn extra income especially during the dry season.  They complain that the outside labour brought by ITC – BPL from elsewhere (from M.P., Orissa and East Godawari Dists) simply chop off all culms of the clump, and they cut the culms in a  “ V ” shape as being easier for them.  This can result in accumulation of water leading to fungal growth, making culms more prone to pest attack ultimately leading to the early death.

The Indiscriminate felling of forest tree in the reserve forest area for podu cultivation along with reduced fallow period has led to loss of vegetal coger in the slppes, obviously leading to soil erosion and nutrient loss.  When they were asked why they cannot avoid this type of cultivation, they simply say “ Provide us land we will stop podu ” and blame government authorities who come with many promises providing land etc. but never implement any.

Bamboo requirement for the Kondareddis is according to their family size.  If the family size above 5 members they requires 10 bamboo per week and family size below 5 members require 5 bamboo per week.  So according to the current population estimate, it could be calculated that kondareddies required about 8064 tender culms per year for their regular earning.   So as to continue their traditional practice.  However, this practive is gradually vanishing, as the younger generation takes prefers to go as daily wage labour or couple labor for quick money, especially in the past seven years.  Money provided by the ITC – BPL authorities seem to keep the tribals happy as they are paying a flat rate of Rs. 225/- for a stack with size of 2m X 2m.  Hence, there is an immediate threat that the skilled workers who can make specialized articles like square shaped winnowers, Common winnowers, grain storage bins will decline in numbers.  For instance, the study village today has only six skilled workers out of which three are above 75 years of age.



A major change which was noticed in the tribal communities of the village was shift in dietary habits.  As of now kondareddies and koyas have given up eating tubers, wildroots, mango kernels.  Now there have become the dry period food stuffs.  Due to flow of cash and also availability of credit from the merchants, during cutting season rice which in the past was a rare delicacy has now become the staple food.  Besides consumption of rice, the consumption of dried fish, and tobacco is also taking place.

During rainy season tender bamboo culms are delicacy which is made into a vegetable curry tasting like cabbage. Now this is being avoided as it is causing allergic complaints.
A Interesting cultural interaction can be seen between the Koyas and Kondareddies.  Koyas go for marrainge of Kondareddis and also lunch with them but Kondareddis though atted koyas marriages they don’t eat in there houses because koyas eat beef.  This cultural interaction is seen only at places where tribal coexist whereas at other places they do not interact culturally.

TABLE – VARIATION IN CLUMP MOUNDING AT DIFFERENT STUDY SITES IN
                     IN BHADRACHALAM (S) DIVISION

SITE NAME
TOTAL NUMBER OF CLUMPS
CLUMPS MOUNDED
%
Forest Dept
321
28
8.72
ITC – BPL
2,105
486
23.08
                               

TABLE – VARIATION IN CULMS CUTTING SHAPE AT DIFFERENT STUDY
                 SITES IN BHADRACHALAM(SOUTH) DIVISION.

SITE NAME
TOTAL CULMS FELLED
‘V’ SHAPE CUTTINGS
%
CROSS CUTTINGS
%
Forest Dept
2,408
1,624
67.44
784
32.55
ITC – BPL
22,193
17,612
79.35
4,581
20.64





TABLE: VARIATIONS IN NODAL CUTTINGS & CLEAR FELLED CULMPS BETWEEN DIFFERENT STUDY SITES



SITE NAME
CLUMPS PRESENT

CLUMPS HARVESTED AT
CLUMPS CLEAR FELLED

%
1ST Node
%
2nd Node
%
3rd Node
%
4th Node
%

FOREST DEP

321

32

9.65

120

37.38

144

44.85


25

7.78

68

21.18

ITC – BPL

2105

64

3.04

783

37.18

1232

58.52

26

1.23

382

18.14













TABLE -    BAMBOO REQUIREMENT OF KONDAREDDIS

No. of Family
Males
Females
Children
Total Family Members
Bamboo Requirement per week
1
1
2
3
6
10
2
1
1
4
6
10
3
1
1
1
3
5
4
1
2
1
4
5
5
2
1
1
4
5
6
1
1
2
4
5
7
1
1
1
3
5
8
2
0
1
3
5
9
2
2
2
6
10
10
1
1
4
6
10
11
1
1
2
4
5
12
2
2
1
5
5
13
1
2
2
5
5
14
1
1
1
3
5
15
1
1
0
2
5
16
1
1
3
5
5
17
2
1
2
5
5
18
1
2
6
9
10
19
1
1
1
3
5
20
1
1
2
4
5
21
2
0
0
2
5
22
2
2
1
5
5
TOTAL
29
27
41
97
168

BAMBOO REQUIRED PER WEEK        =      168  CULMS
BAMBOO REQUIRED PER MONTH     =      672  CULMS
BAMBOO REQUIRED PER YEAR         =     8064 CULMS





TABLE   -     MAKING BAMBOO ARTICLES -   SOME BASIC DETAILS
Sl. No
Article(English Name)
Telugu Name/Local
Amount of Bamboo required
No. of Products obtained
Age of Culm
Bartering Value
Market Value in Rs.
Rice in Peddy Kgs
Sorghum in Kgs
1
Winower(Small)  Winower(big)
Chatalu
Chatalu
1
1
2
1
One
One
4
5
3
4

6-8/-
2
Square Shapped Winower
Dangger
1
1
One
5
4
810/-
3
Bazaar Basket
Bazar Butta
1
1
One
5
4
8-10/-
4
Matteress (Small)
Matteress (Big)
Chapa
Chapa
2
4
1
1
One
One
10
20
7
18
12-15/-
25-30/-
5
Matteress (Small)
Matteress (Big)
Tirri(big)
Tirri(Small)
1.5
1
1
1

One
One
5
5
4
4
8-10/-
6-10/-
6
Umbrella
Gudugu/Erku
2
1
One
10
8
25-30/-

7
Boundary Walls
Tadikelu
15
1(3*3m)
Two
10
8
30-35/-
8
Storage Bins(Small)
Storage Bins(Medium)
Storage(Big)
Gampalu
Gampalu
Gampalu
1
1
1
2
2
1
One
One
One
3
4
5
2
3
4
6-10/-
8-10/-
10-12/-
9
Fish Basket
Chapa butta
1
4
One

1
1
5/-
10
Grain Storage Bins
Godi/Gummi
15
1(400Kgs)
One
50
35
100-150/-
11
Cradle
Vuyala
2
1
One
10
8
25-30/-
12
Sieve
Jaladi
2
1
One
6
4
5-8/-











CONCLUSION:

The Present Study clearly reveals that regeneration is more affected at the ITC-BPL site, in comparison to Forest Dept. site.  This is due to apparent negligence of management practices like mounding and clear felling of the clumps by the former.  Over harvesting should be avoided at both the sites (more so for Forest Dept.) as other –wise, days are not far off to see bamboo in Botanical gardens.  Prasad and Gadgil(undated) say that bamboo available to the paper mills in India has been overestimated and this has resulted in practices of clear felling of clumps leading to sharp decline of bamboo resources.  The present study has also indicated a similar trend i.e. previous to industrial extraction; the tribals were getting the bamboo for their requirements in less time and also by traveling less distance.  Hence, appropriate sustainable harvesting and management strategies have to be adopted by both ITC-BPL and Forest Department as it has been already discussed in.