Nine States Pulled up for Slow FRA Implementation
NEW DELHI: Unhappy over slow implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), union government has written to nine states, majority of them non-BJP ruled, to ensure recognition of forest rights in a mission mode by setting up a special cell to closely monitor the progress.
Tribal Affairs secretary Arun Jha, in a letter to all nine states, said that during the last seven years, a good overall progress has been made in the country in the implementation of the FRA but a lot still remains to be done in some of the states.
The defaulter states include Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand. FRA was brought by the UPA government in 2006 to ensure forest dwellers get right over forest land where they have been living for many years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also taken a review meeting in April of FRA implementation and has desired that the implementation be taken on campaign mode.
“You, are therefore, requested to take up FRA implementation in a mission mode by setting up a special cell to closely monitor the implementation of FRA in your state. Special emphasis need should be given on extensive capacity building programmes across the state to field level officials and panchayat functionaries to take up implementation of FRA in a time bound manner,” said the letter sent to states on June 10.
The ministry also give timelines for various processed to be done under the FRA settlements by the states ranging from wide-spread awareness thus enabling forest dwellers to file claims, training of officers and completion of final process by end of the year.
“You are requested to draw up milestones and timelines required to implement FRA in a time-bound manner. In order to closely monitor progress made,” said Jha, adding the ministry will periodically review these initiatives.