Delay in FRA implementation: Tribals in Odisha protest ‘apathy’ of Forest department

Despite Mayurbhanj being one of the largest tribal-dominated districts in the state, tribals of the area were always neglected by the government.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

BARIPADA: The Dalit Adivasi Mahasangh protested the alleged apathy of the Forest Department and the state government in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district. During a press meet on Friday, the Mahasangha claimed that despite Mayurbhanj being one of the largest tribal-dominated districts in the state, tribals of the area were always neglected by the government.

Speaking to media persons, the organisation’s president Rakesh Singh said a total of 69,023 individual forest right (IFR) claims have been received since December 2018 of which only 52,318 claims have been approved by the district-level committees to date.

“Besides, 47 pc of the distributed IFR titles have been pending incorporation in relevant government records. The state government should recognise that provisions of FRA have immense potential to improve forest governance and provide livelihood security by recognising community rights (CR) and community forest resource (CFR) rights in particular,” he added.

Even the concerned departments will admit that progress in terms of recognition of CR, CFR rights, conversion of unsurveyed habitations, and forest villages to revenue villages is not encouraging, he stated.

“The organisation demands that FRA rights be recognised and the gaps in the correction of records for the titles be distributed besides other schemes and programmes of the government implemented,” Singh said adding, the identified unsurveyed and forest villages be converted into revenue villages so that all households have access to basic amenities like water, electricity, health etc.

Under the FRA, tribals and forest dwellers are entitled to two types of rights - the individual right of settlement and cultivation on forest land and a wider set of rights known as CFR, Singh informed.

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