Kullu, December 23
The campaign to implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, in the tribal Spiti region received a massive push as the people of Kibber village became the first to submit their claims to the sub-divisional level committee, chaired by the SDM at Kaza in Spiti today.
The delay in registering our claims took place due to no proper information on Forest Rights Act-2006 and no timely training to forest rights committees. Kaljung Phunsok, chairman, Kibber forest rights committee
We have laid claim to
1 lakh hectares of land. For centuries, our ancestors have been living in the harsh conditions of Spiti, using these forest resources. Tsering Dorje, Secretary, Kibber forest rights committee
Kibber Forest Rights’ Committee Chairman Kaljung Phunsok said apart from 53 individual forest right claims, the village had also filed for community use and conservation of forest land and management rights under the FRA. He said, “It took us so many years to register our claims because neither clear information regarding the Act was provided by the government, nor forest right committees got timely training.”
Kibber village, known across the world for snow leopards, has a large chunk of land classified as a wildlife sanctuary by the Forest Department. Kibber Forest Rights’ Committee Secretary Tsering Dorje says, “We have claimed community use, management and conservation rights over about 1 lakh hectares of land. For hundreds of years, even before the Forest Department came into existence, our ancestors have been living in the harsh conditions of Spiti, using and managing these forest resources.”
BDC president and Forest Rights Committee member Dolkar Dolma said, “We are the indigenous to this region and we have conserved and built a relationship with the wildlife and biodiversity here. Generations have been earning their livelihood from this area, which we have claimed community rights on, used for grazing yaks, horses and other animals and as a trade route with Ladakh. This right is very important for the tribal community, as many rare herbs are found in this region, which are used as medicines. To save and nurture our traditional relationship, we are making our claim on the land of our ancestors, under the Forest Rights Act.”
Tenzin Takpa and Sonam Targay of Spiti Civil Society, who have been training and supporting forest rights’ committees of Spiti region for the past several years, said, “We are confident that the sub-divisional level committee (SDLC) and the district level committee (DLC) will be prompt and just in verifying Kibber’s claims for their rights.
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