Centre reviews implementation of Forest Rights Act

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (UNI) The Centre has asked the States to expedite the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act so that the objective of recognising forest rights and occupation of forestland of Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers can be achieved as early as possible.

Chairing the day-long meeting to review the implementation of the Act with the State Secretaries in charge of tribal affairs here today, G B Mukherji, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs urged the States to take up time bound implementation of various components of the Act.

He suggested that the apex level committee should take up regular monitoring of the implementation as being done in some States at the level of Chief Secretary. Campaign in local language and dialects should be run to ensure awareness about the benefits of the Act, Mr Mukherji said.

The meeting was convened to discuss the problems in the implementation of the Act in the States that are lagging behind other States.

Mr Mukherji said the Centre is ready to provide all possible support and technical assistance to the States where implementation is slow.

Union Tribal Affairs Ministry has already released over Rs 22.6 crore as grants to the States that have sought financial assistance for the implementation of the Act, he added.

State-wise road maps for time bound implementation of the Act were also proposed during the meeting by Mr Mukherji.

Most of the States said initial work of the formation of various committees for the implementation of the Act has already been completed. Some States have started distributing land rights after verification of claims. More than 60,000 land pattas have been distributed in these States.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials of various Union Ministries involved in the implementation of the Act.

The Act enacted in December 2006, recognises rights of the tribals and forest dwellers to hold and live in forestland under his occupation, to cultivate and to collect minor forest produce.

UNI BKS BDP NS1854

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