The Centre has asked seven states to effectively implement the Forest Rights Act which seeks to restore rights of tribes living in forests for generations.
The move comes in the wake of directions by the Prime Minister’s office, which called for the implementation of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in ‘campaign mode’ in states.
It was found that seven states- Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand- failed to implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA) effectively.
“The progress report of states on implementation of FRA revealed that seven states did not perform well in implementing the Act since it was notified in January 2008,” a Ministry official said.
“The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has organised consultations with state governments to create awareness for timely disposal of claims of land rights. The states have also been asked to take all steps for expeditious implementation of the Act. Despite all efforts, these states have not improved their performances and rejection rates are high,” he said.
According to the official, there is lack of awareness on the implementation of FRA not only among beneficiaries, but also those who are supposed to implement it.
“There are a lot of rejections, majority of them being wrongful. Many are based on invalid and flimsy grounds. Besides, these seven states have been irregular and sluggish in sending their reports,” he said.
The official said the monthly progress reports in this regard are sent to PMO where they are reviewed.
As per the progress report, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest rejection rate (81 per cent) as it contested 74,945 land right claims out of 93,644 claims.Also, out of 92,520 individual claims, the northern state distributed titles to 17,712.
Out of 1,124 community claims, 843 tribals were given titles in the state.
West Bengal recorded 68 per cent rejection as the government rejected 97,415 claims out of a total 1,42,081 claims followed by Maharastra, where the rejection rate was 64 per cent with 2,30,732 out of 3,55,606 claims rejected.
Madhya Pradesh reported rejection of around 61 per cent with 3,74,718 claims rejected out of 6,16,951 claims.