Implementation of Forest Rights Act is Suspect

13 January 2012, Sarguja. On 13 January a meeting of 22 different social organisations and people‟s movements was held at Ambikapur. Shri Ranabhai of „Navyuvak Jagran Pratishthan Sansthan‟ said that the land that is being given under the act is very little as compared to the claims by the people. Shri Mehndi Yadav of „Margdarshak Samaj Sewi Sansthan‟ said that in the Premnagar region fraudulent Gram Sabhas were being organised in village such as Salka and Chandanpur to acquire agriculture land for industry. Shri Rajendra Singh of Gandhi Sewa Ashram‟ said that in Sarguja district government land was being given to asylum seekers rather than to the local tribals and dalits who have first claim on such lands. All the organisations pledged their support to Jansatyagrah 2012 and said that people in large numbers would join the movement.

The second halt of Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra was at Shivnathpur village of Sitapur block where a public meeting of more than 500 people was organised by Ekta Parishad and the local Gram Panchayat. Shri Amarjit Bhagat, local MLA said that under the Forest Rights Act land settlement should be done rapidly as the tribals and other communities that live near the forests are largely dependent on the forests and the forest produce for their livelihood. Shri Radheshyam, Sarpanch Shivnathpur and Smt Dipti, Sarpanch Sarga said that the forms made available for claims were not enough and so many families are still waiting to get the forms. Shri Prabhat Khalkhon, Sitapur Janpad said that claims over common property resources have been denied completely and no one is paying attention to this issue even though it should be a priority for the government.

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