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DoTW to expedite process for granting of forest rights

NT NETWORK

 

PANAJI

The Directorate of Tribal Welfare (DoTW) has set the target of disposing of all the claims received under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 by December 30, 2017.

Following this, the Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, who is the chairman of State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC), under the  Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, advised  the nodal agency to hold meetings immediately with both South Goa and North Goa Collectors and concerned departments to resolve the hurdles encountered at the lower level in disposing of the claims under the Act.

The meeting of the SLMC was held on Monday at Secretariat, Porvorim, wherein Chief Secretary directed the concerned officials to complete the process of granting forest rights to Scheduled Tribes and other traditional dwellers in the state as early as possible as Goa has made least progress in implementing the Act.

Sources informed that during the meeting, when the director of Tribal Welfare Venancio Furtado pointed out that the secretaries of various village panchayats are not serious about the issue, and many are not having documents including gram sabha resolutions and the list of forest rights committees (FRCs), which are mandatory at village level under the Act, the Chief Secretary directed that if the panchayat secretaries are not cooperating then issue them notices under the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste Atrocities Prevention Act.

The sources further said that the chairman of SLMC was of the opinion that if anyone deliberately tries to delay the process then it is a clear violation of the Act.

The SLMC has also given approval to create hamlets of two-three wards in order to form FRCs as it is difficult to complete quorum of FRCs constituted at village panchayat level in gram sabhas.

The Directorate of Tribal Welfare has set a new timeframe for recommendation of claims by FRCs, gram sabhas, sub division level committees and final approval of the district level committees.

As per the new action plan, FRCs should recommend up to 50 numbers of forest rights claims by October 15, from 50 to 100 claims by October 20, from 100 to 200 claims by November 10 and from 200 to 300 claims by November 25; gram sabhas  upto 50 claims by October 25, from 50 to 100 claims by October 30, from 100 to 200 claims by November 20 and from 200 to 300 claims with FRCs by December 5.

For sub-divisional level committee, resolution timeframe as follows – November 5 upto 50 claims, November 10 upto 100 claims, November 30 upto 200 claims and December 15 for claims from 200 to 300 with FRCs.

The timeframe for final approval by the district level committees will be November 15 for upto 50 claims, November 25 for upto 100 claims, December 15 for upto 200 claims and December 30 for claims from 200 to 300.

As per the records provided by the Directorate of Tribal Welfare, a total of 10040 forest rights claims were received from six talukas namely Sattari, Ponda, Dharbandora, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona where there is tribal population. Out of

10040 claims, 9672 are individual claims, 356 community claims and 12 facility claims.

As of now, spot verification of 2709 claims has been done, whereas 177 claims are pending before SDLC and 20 claims before DLC, and only 25 forest rights claims has been approved by DLC.

The directorate has also proposed to appoint  special monitoring committee under the director of Tribal Welfare, which will meet once in a week and visit one taluka every week, and will submit report to SLMC.

It has also asked the forest department to issue direction to the assistant conservator of forest and range forest officer to remain present for the spot verification when called by the FRCs.

Source: DoTW to expedite process for granting of forest rights

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