Odisha has retained its first position among other leading states of the country in implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) during the current year, said official sources here.

A state-level monitoring committee which reviewed the progress focussed on the achievements in implementation for the FRA, felt that it was time to ensure that the beneficiaries of FRA should be brought above the poverty line through convergence of  various poverty alleviation programmes being implemented through different departments.

ITDA Project Directors need to take the lead for this convergence in their respective areas. Project Directors of DRDAs have been directed to take the lead for convergence in non-ITDA areas, said official sources.

A special drive for settlement of community rights under FRA will be undertaken soon.

It has been decided to prohibit activities by outsiders in the community right areas.

Collectors have been advised to hold District Level Meetings on FRA regularly and prevent any fraudulent practice of occupying the reserve forest.

Joint Forest Management approach in conservation and development of forest areas settled as community rights under FRA will be encouraged.

The department of forest & environment has also issued guidelines to Divisional Forest Officers for incorporation of both individual and community rights settled under FRA, 2006 in the permanent registers maintained at the level of forest divisions.

After the meeting, Director ST Welfare R. Raghuprasad  said that so far 3,70,110 individual claims and 6,211 community claims have been approved by the district level committees of different districts.

Out of those 3,44,581 individual claims over 5,46,386 acres of forest land and 5000 community claims over 1,79,663 acres have been settled in their favour.

Convergence of various programmes have been made in respect of 2,26,304 FRA beneficiaries.

These beneficiaries have mostly been covered under IAY, Mo Kudia, Mo Pokhari, land development in MGNREGA, National Horticulture Mission, National Bamboo Mission etc.