Rajasthan to classify orans (sacred groves) as deemed forests

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Source- The post on Rajasthan to classify orans (sacred groves) as deemed forests is based on the article “Villagers oppose declaring ‘orans’ as deemed forests, fearing loss of access and livelihoodpublished in “Down to Earth” on 6th March 2024.

What is the News?

Villagers in western Rajasthan are worried about the State’s plan to classify orans (sacred groves) as deemed forests.

About orans

Orans: Sacred community-conserved areas in Rajasthan,

1. Orans are traditional sacred groves found primarily in Rajasthan, India.

2. They are community-conserved sacred spaces rich in biodiversity and usually include a water body.

3. Importance: The community has a close relationship with orans holding cultural, religious, social and ecological significance:

a) Religious: Orans are often associated with local deities and are barred from cutting and felling trees due to spiritual and religious connections to the Orans.

The places of worship, last rites, and religious events take place inside the Oran and are related to the trees, water bodies, and other entities of the sacred groves.

b) Ecological: They are among the last natural habitats of the Great Indian Bustard. The open stretch of land receives long hours of sunlight and brisk winds and has become a hub of green energy with windmills and solar photovoltaic dotting it.

c) Social: Orans are used for livestock grazing and are also places for communal congregations, festivals, and other social events. The villagers also use gum, timber, forest produce, and wild vegetables from orans for their livelihood and daily use.

4. Challenges and Concerns:

a) Orans face threats due to current categorization as wastelands.

b) Large portions of land are allocated for solar plants, impacting biodiversity and livelihoods.

c) The recent declaration of Orans as deemed forests raises concerns about access to resources and movement restrictions.

UPSC Syllabus: Environment

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