BHUBANESWAR: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) has directed the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department to examine if the State Government’s ‘Ama Jungle Yojana’ is in conflict with the provisions of Forest Rights Act (FRA) and furnish a report.
The State Department, in turn, has written to the Forest and Environment Department to examine the contentious issue since the latter is accused of promoting Vana Surakhya Samitis (VSSs) and usurping the powers of the Gram Sabha which is guaranteed under the Constitution.
Earlier, the MoTA, in a letter to the SC and ST Department, stated that it has been issuing clear-cut directives and guidelines from time to time about the Constitutional powers vested with Gram Sabha under the FRA.
Gram Sabha is central to taking any decision on community forest resources and wherever FRA is likely to be implemented, the Ministry said, adding that Odisha Government should ensure that Gram Sabha constitutes a committee for protection and management of community forestry rights.
The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha had reported the matter to the Union Ministry seeking its intervention.
The ‘Ama Jungle Yojana’, which was launched recently, aims at regenerating about 2.6 lakh hectare forests and create 5,000 hectare of new forest cover in next six years.
CSD had filed a petition before MoTA alleging that the very launch of ‘Ama Jungle Yojana’ promoting VSS under Joint Forest Management (JFM) is in direct contradiction with FRA, 2006.