Protect forest dwellers’ rights: Congress MP Husain Dalwai

Congress MP Husain Dalwai has written to the Rajya Sabha to take immediate action to ensure the rights of forest dwellers are protected when compensatory afforestation is undertaken.

NEW DELHI: Congress MP Husain Dalwai has written to the Rajya Sabha to take immediate action to ensure the rights of forest dwellers are protected when compensatory afforestation is undertaken.

Endorsing a petition by a group of organisations working for the welfare of forest dwellers, Dalwai said the petition raised questions on the way compensatory afforestation—afforestation done in lieu of diversion of forest land for non-forest use—was being undertaken on forest land, which was against the law.

The petition demands that consent of gram sabhas must be mandatory for compensatory afforestation projects on forest land and funds for this purpose must be democratically spent. It asks for withdrawal of a recent environment ministry notification for creating a land bank of revenue lands, on which communities may have recorded rights, for compensatory afforestation activities.

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