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Oran land

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: Villagers in Rajasthan oppose the state government’s proposal to classify sacred groves known as orans as deemed forests, fearing loss of access and livelihood. The notification, released on February 1, 2024, aims to give orans the status of deemed forests as per Supreme Court directives.

Communities rely on orans for cultural, religious, and economic reasons, using them for cattle herding, pastures, and gathering forest produce. They fear that this classification will deprive them of access to the forests and threaten their way of life. Legal experts clarify that while deemed forests are protected from certain activities like mining, they do not restrict community access to grazing or worship.

What are Orans?

Orans are traditional sacred groves found in Rajasthan, India. These community forests are preserved and managed by rural communities, often associated with local deities. They are rich in biodiversity, typically containing water bodies, and have been conserved for centuries. Orans serve as grazing areas for livestock and are venues for communal gatherings and festivals. They are also vital habitats for endangered species like the Great Indian Bustard.

 

What are Sacred groves?

Sacred groves are relic forest patches traditionally protected by communities in reverence of a deity. They are important repositories of forest biodiversity, providing refuge to many plant and animal species of conservation significance. India has over 13,000 documented sacred groves. These groves are known by different names in different regions, such as Kavu/Sarpa Kavu in Kerala, Devarakadu/Devkad in Karnataka, and Deorai/Devrai in Maharashtra.