NEW DELHI: The implementation of the Forest Rights Act has suffered from lack of political will, ‘ineffective’ nodal agency, conflicting laws at the national and state level that subvert rights of forest dwellers, lack of awareness and coordination among revenue, forest and tribal welfare departments to process the claims, according to a Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) journal.
The analysis assessing the implementation of the FRA after a decade of the Act’s implementation showed the percentage of recognised forest land against the potential forest land under FRA was 14.67. The top five states which accounted for the rejection of the Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims included Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, and West Bengal.
These states accounted for the 70.98 per cent of the total rejected claims, said the journal which used data compiled by the Mnistry of Tribal Affairs. When it came to the rejection of community forest rights, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had the highest number of rejections, constituting 78.97 per cent of total rejected claims. Investigation of rejected and pending claims for forest rights in Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra revealed arbitrary rejections by the sub-divisional and district level committees, said the report.
“There is a need to replicate positive interventions across the country...and to recognise the importance of post-recognition intervention and how it has contributed to livelihood enhancement and management of forest resources. There is significant outcomes in Maharashtra in the post-recognition intervention,” said Geetanjoy Sahu, assistant professor at TISS.