Tripura''s request for amending Forest Dwellers Act turned down

Agartala, Jan 31 (PTI) The Centre has turned downTripura government''s request to amend the Forest DwellersRights Act 2006 to provide land to non-tribals traditionallyliving in forest areas of the state.

According to the new Forest Dwellers Act, the peoplewho have been living in forests for more than 75 years can getland allotment, but "we have demanded an amendment to the Actfor giving ''pattas'' to non-tribals living in forest areas forover 25 years," Tripura Forest Minister Jitendra Chowdhurysaid.

"Around 1,18,770 indigenous people were given official''pattas'' after scrutiny of papers only two non-indigenouspeople could be given official pattas among the 35310applicants," he said.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had sent a letter to PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh early this month to amend the Act, butit was turned down, saying it could not be amended now.

"Non-availability of land records of non-tribals is amajor hurdle for giving pattas to them, but many of theirrecords were misplaced due to displacement of people duringthe riot in 1980," an official said.

The non-tribal people were invited by erstwhiletribal kings for wetland cultivation in the state from EastBengal (now Bangladesh) and were given pattas.

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