The State Government has decided to thoroughly check all the titles issued in favour of other traditional forest dwellers (OTFDs) following complaints that settlement of forest rights was done in a fraudulent manner in some pockets.
The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the state-level monitoring committee (SLMC). It was reported that forest rights were settled in a fraudulent manner in some places of Sundargarh district. This has also been corroborated by the District Collector in his report. The Collector has recommended cancellation of five titles in Darpali village following this.
The SLMC decided that such titles will be cancelled in other parts of the State also and initiate action against the erring officials. The process of checking titles issued to all OTFDs will be over by the end of September. It was decided that wherever compensation has been received by such OTFDs on account of holding individual rights in forest land through fraudulent means, action should be initiated for recovery of land acquisition compensation.
It was decided that irrigation source created for forest rights title holders through convergence will be monitored separately.
The district administration will take the initiative to create different irrigation sources like dug well, deep bore well, farm ponds and check dam as well as diversion weir for the title holders.
The Panchayati Raj department also has been asked to issue suitable instruction in this regard to maximise creation of irrigation potential from work done under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). Official sources said that till the end of May, 2013, about 42,434 title holders out of 3,16,425 were covered under MGNREGA.
It was decided that all the district collectors will be asked to cover more forest rights title holders under MGNREGA.
The district collectors of Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh will be requested to prepare model land development plan i.e. requirement of mandays for land development per one acre of land, so that it will be adopted uniformly for land development works in all districts.
It was observed by the SLMC that in a number of districts, the district level committee (DLC) meetings are not held regularly.
It was decided that the PA, ITDAs and DWOs being the convenor of the DLCs will ensure to convene the meetings once every two months.
It was suggested that the initiative taken in Kalahandi for facilitating development of micro plan by the community in cases where community forest resource rights has been settled could be replicated elsewhere.