Govt in action mode to implement Forest Rights Act

Published: 22nd June 2012 01:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2012 01:07 PM   |  A+A-

With just about 30 per cent of its villages covered under the Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, so far, the Odisha Government is more than keen to expedite things and has already drawn up plans for a comprehensive programme to implement the legislation.

It is now planning to get into a programme mode and hasten implementation of the Act in 11 districts which have been designated as priority districts.

The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department has decided to rope in voluntary agencies to facilitate the implementation.

The programme will cover tribal-inhabited districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur and Kandhamal.

The ST communities will be enlightened under the interventions about how to claim forest rights - community rights as well as development rights - before the Forest Rights Committees.

Under the plan, as many as 11 ST-dominated districts with 20,903 villages will be covered in two years. All eligible ST community households will be focused under the programme, according to Director, SC and ST, SK Popli.

The comprehensive programme aims to rope in services of NGOs which will be called, Facilitating NGOs.

According to available data, of the 51,551 villages in the State, at least 29,302 are forest fringe villages and about 12,000  engaged in community forest protection activities.

Of these, about 14,200 villages have so far availed of the benefits of the Act wherein all individual and community claims have been settled. The Department has set itself a target of covering all the villages by the end of 2012-13.

The main objective of the new plan is to mobilise individuals as well as communities by creating awareness about the Act while undertaking the task of claiming as well as settling rights within a time frame.

A village-wise land database and tracking system will also be developed to monitor the status of land allocation at both individual and community levels. Pendency will also be monitored.

Similarly, for periodic evaluation, the Government has proposed a State-level project monitoring cell which will not only keep a tab on the progress but also provide guidance and policy prescriptions. Below the state-level committee, a district-level body will function.


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