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.
In the Bastar region, the WB's first project for 'forest development' became therefore a major cause for deforestation in the region.
It was primarily developing for plantations for the pulp and paper industry. This World Bank project in Bastar was part of the trend to convert natural forests to commercial plantations so that the biomass produced could no longer benefit the original dwellers. The tribal sustenance base in cane and bamboo for basket weaving, mangoes, tamarind, jackfruit, mahua and edible berries are all destroyed when natural forests are replaced by monoculture plantations of eucalyptus or tropical pine. The Bastar Tropical Pine Project was finally shelved due to the serious resistance of local tribals.
It was a prescription for destruction of tropical forests aimed at changing the forest character in such a manner that they exclusively serve commercial interests, not the indigenous peoples.