STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: The Forest Department on Saturday conducted training of District Level Officers including Deputy Commissioners, Divisional Forest Officers and District Panchayat Officers on implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006.Resource persons of national repute including Jaya, Union Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Dr. A.K. Jha, Former Commissioner, Tribal Research and Training Institute, Maharashtra provided useful inputs to the participants on procedures and processes involved in implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the Union Territory of J&K.Pertinently, implementation of the Act involves recognition and vesting of forest rights in Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. The Act provides a framework for recording of rights so vested and the nature of evidence required for such recognition and vesting in respect of forest land. The framework for recording the rights involves procedures and processes is to be implemented through the Gram Sabha, Sub-Divisional Level and the District Level Committees as per Section 4 of FRA, 2006. The nature of evidence required are recorded in detail in the Rules and also involves field verification by the Forest Rights Committee comprising 10-15 members to be elected among its members by the Gram Sabha. Principal Chief Conservator Forests (HoFF), Dr. Mohit Gera, gave a detailed account of status of implementation of Forest Rights Act in J&K. Dr. Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary, Secretary Tribal Affairs department said “The Act apart from recognizing the rights also gives various kinds of duties to holders of forest rights to protect the wildlife, forest and biodiversity of the area.” Union Joint Secretary gave a brief background of evolution of Forest Rights Act, 2006 besides presenting Individual and Community rights elaborately. She also elaborated the role of various institutions particularly Gram Sabha, Forest Rights Committee, SDLCs and DLCs as well as processes involved in the claim. Dr. A.K. Jha described about nature and extent of rights in Individual as well as Community Forest Rights category. He also cautioned that the committees should decide the cases based on merit of the claim. He also elaborated proforma based system strengthened with ‘geo informatics’ used in Maharashtra which tremendously helped in arriving at correct decision making by Sub-Divisional Level Committee and District Level Committee.The District level training was attended by around 80 officers from 58 different locations from across the UT.
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