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Bastar Forestry Project 1975, Chhattisgarh, India

Bastar Forestry Project was jointly funded by the World Bank and the Indian Government in 1975. The objective was to "develop" this “backward” region through 40,000 ha of plantation of Caribbean pine.


From the mid-19th century onwards, the indigenous peoples of Bastar have lost their rights to the forests as a result of outside interference culminating in the Bastar Forestry Project which was jointly funded by the World Bank and the Indian Government in 1975. The objective was to develop and industrialise this “backward” region through 40000 ha of industrial plantation of the Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea) for which the natural forests had to be cleared. The regions belonged then to Mahya Pradesh. Chhattisgarh is a new state created in 2000. For the Madhya Pradesh Forestry Development Corporation (MPFDC), trees are resources to be grown and cut for profit; the Forest Department views the forests as a capital that needs to be protected from intruders, especially the tribals; the planners and experts are interested in the technical issues of supplying raw material for the mill; and for the indigenous peoples, the forest is an important source of income and sustenance. As they had no interest in cooperation or in job opportunities, local indigenous peoples resisted the commercial penetration into their environment. Their suspicion, resistance and hostility finally prompted the government – with the support of influential politicians – to terminate the pine plantation project.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bastar Forestry Project 1975, Chhattisgarh, India
State or province:Chhattisgarh
Location of conflict:Bastar
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Pine (Pinus caribaea)
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Bastar Forestry Project jointly funded by the World Bank and the Indian Government in 1975: 40,000 ha of industrial plantation of the Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea).

Project area:40,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1975
End of the conflict:1983
Relevant government actors:Madhya Pradesh Forestry Development Corporation (MPFDC) + Forest Departments
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Tribal people
Conflict & Mobilization
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Forest destruction stopped by local indigenous populations.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Anderson, R., and W. Huber, 1987. The hour of the fox. Tropical forests, the World Bank, and indigenous people in central India. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Gadgil, M., and R. Guha, 1992. This fissured land: an ecological history of India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

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Contributor:J.-F. Gerber
Last update18/08/2019
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