Forest rights alliance raise five point demands for tribals and traditional forest dwellers

By Our Correspondent

Agartala January 10,2019 : Forest Rights Alliance, a conglomerate of social organizations working for tribal rights, under the leadership of Tripura (East) MP Jiten Chowdhury, have raised a five-point charter of demands for proper implementation of Right to Forest Act-2006 in the interest of tribals and traditional forest dwellers across the country. The demands include proper implementation of forest rights act by approving individual as well as community claims passed by the 'Gram Sabha', investigation into violence perpetrated on tribals and traditional forest dwellers and withdrawal of fabricated charges against them, complete halt to the displacement of tribals and disposal of their claims on forest land by revenue officials , extension of 5th schedule of the constitution to tribal-dominated contiguous areas where the tribals comprise fifty percent or more of the total population and enactment of national legislation providing for special components for tribal and SC sub-plans. 

A detailed memorandum containing the demands as well as background of the forest rights act and how it is being misused and lying unimplemented was submitted to the union minister for tribal welfare Jual Oram on January 10 by a six member delegation of the alliance under the leadership of Jiten Chowdhury, president of the 'Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch'. The memorandum pointed out in detail how the right to forest land given to the tribals under the Right to Forest Act-2006 was lying unimplemented or being totally disregarded by the various state governments and its officials. Lack of political , bureaucratic sloth and apathy of the administration were blamed in the memorandum for denial of due rights to the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers. Apart from this, how the ignorance of procedure on the part of the simple tribals and the unholy nexus between corporate sector and the central government and various state governments were not only denying due rights to the tribals but also leading to their displacement from their traditional habitats were also pointed out in the memorandum. It said that in the wake of the legislation 4.7 million claims had been filed but only forty percent of them or 1.74 million of them had been disposed while the rest got entangled in procedural and legal problems. 

The memorandum urged upon the union minister to look into the matter and initiate affirmative action to ensure that tribals and traditional forest dwellers can enjoy the rights given them by the Right to Forest Act-2006. It also appealed to the minister to ensure that coercive measures are not adopted by the administration and internal displacement is completely stopped in the interest of the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers.    


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