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Rajasthan’s Plan to Classify Orans as Deemed Forests

Why is it in the news?

  • The state government of Rajasthan plans to classify orans (sacred groves), found primarily in western Rajasthan, as deemed forests.
About Orans

·       Orans are traditional sacred groves that serve as community-conserved areas in Rajasthan, India.

·       Orans are known for their rich biodiversity and typically include a water body.

·       Orans hold significant cultural, religious, social, and ecological importance for the communities.

·       They are often associated with local deities and are protected from tree cutting and felling due to spiritual and religious connections.

·       Religious ceremonies, festivals, and social events take place within orans, highlighting their cultural significance.

·       Orans serve as crucial habitats for species like the Great Indian Bustard.

·       They also contribute to green energy initiatives, with windmills and solar photovoltaic systems present in the area.

·       Orans are utilized for livestock grazing and serve as communal spaces for gatherings and social events.

·       Villagers derive livelihoods from orans through the collection of gum, timber, forest produce, and wild vegetables.

 

 Challenges and Concerns

  • Orans face threats due to their current categorization as wastelands, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Large portions of orans have been allocated for solar plants, leading to concerns about biodiversity loss and livelihood impacts.
  • The recent declaration of orans as deemed forests raises concerns about access to resources and movement restrictions, potentially impacting local communities’ traditional way of life.

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