The truth of Forest Rights Act

14th May 2002, Shahdol

On May 14, the first leg of the journey was Papredi village of Byvhari block of Shahdol district where a meeting was held. While addressing a meeting Baharlal told that in Village Sarwahi the forest department through its forest protection committee has been destroying his crops for last 10 years. In this forest range entry movment of the tribals has been stoped. Money is being taken by forest employee in lieu of collecting forest products. Complaint filed by tribal but no action has not being taken on any staff of forest department till today. Avadharaj told that in Papredi village, no tribal family has been provided Forest Rights claim. Due to lack of adequate information at the right time, more than 70% of the claimant could not apply for claim. In village Vasnagari, 67 tribal families applied for claims which were forwarded for further action by Forest Rights Committee. But these applications were rejected by District Level Committee (DLC) for unknown reasons. Villagers believe that this decision has been taken under pressure of forest department. Not only this, they tell that no action has been taken on any claims made for community Rights in the area. The second leg of the yatra was Gohparu village of Shahdol district. The village leader, Mr Ram Lal Singh told that in this region, the organizations working in the interest of tribals were labeled as those working in the interest of violent movements. The social workers have been oppressed over the last few years. He said that since Tribal Self-Governance, Forest Act and MNREGA were such acts which were passed at the behest of Mass Movements, the role of such movements in implementation of these acts and laws should not be opposed by the state administration. He said that the possibility of joint implementation should be worked out. Mr. Dinesh said that a powerful political movement was required to actually implement the laws made in the interest of tribals. Since the organizations working with tribals are being defamed, it is the social responsibility of these mass-organisations to bring the guilty in front of the society. He expressed confidence that the over 1000 people would participate in this Jansatyagrah from Sidhi district

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