Jabarra, a picturesque tribal village dotted with hills, lush forests and the scenic Kajal river in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh, is the first village in the state to get community forest rights. Last year, on August 20, its gram sabha (village council) was accorded community resource rights over 5,352 hectares (ha) forest. But, the success story of Jabarra does not end here.
The residents of the village are successfully running ecotourism by focusing on yoga, healing and wellness. Their unique initiative has attracted both national and international tourists, who have visited the village to experience an authentic rural living in nature’s lap. In the last six months, more than 1,200 tourists have visited Jabarra, which has a population of about 540 people. Through ecotourism the village has already earned Rs 3 lakh, Madhav Singh Markam, a resident of Jabarra told Gaon Connection.
“The day we secured rights over our vast forests, ecotourism was also launched in the village. Tourists from countries like Poland, Japan and Australia have visited us. In India, tourist groups have come from Kolkata, Pune and New Delhi,” he added.
Securing community forest resource rights has also led to the restructuring of Jabarra’s gram sabha (village council), which has further been empowered in the decision-making process. Getting rights over their forests was crucial for the villagers as majority of them depend on the forest and forest produce for their livelihood. There used to a lot of coupe (felling area) cutting in Jabarra by the forest department.