J&K set to implement Forest Rights Act

J&K set to implement Forest Rights Act

The Act provides for granting land rights to forest dwellers. File

Jammu, November 18

The Jammu and Kashmir administration will implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which was not applicable in the union territory for the last 14 years, to grant land rights to forest dwellers, an official spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The Forest Rights Act provides for granting rights of forest land to forest dwellers. However, the rights conferred under the Act shall be “heritable but not alienable or transferable”, he said.

The step is being taken in view of large scale encroachment of huge forest land and its illegal sale in Jammu and Kashmir.

Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Wednesday chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act and Rules, which became applicable in the union territory post the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the spokesperson said.

He said departments of tribal affairs, and forest, ecology and environment started working on its implementation in October this year.

This Central Act was, however, not applicable or implemented in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 14 years.

The spokesperson said it was decided that the ‘survey of claimants’ by the forest rights committees for assessing the nature and extent of rights being claimed at village level be completed by January 15 for their further submission to the respective sub-divisional committees.

The sub-divisional committees shall complete the process of scrutiny of claims and preparation of record of forest rights by or before January 31. Similarly, district-level committees shall consider and approve the record and grant forest rights by March 1. — PTI

What it means for Scheduled Tribes

Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers will be provided with rights over forest land for the purpose of habitation or self-cultivation, livelihood, ownership, access to collect, use, dispose of minor forest produce, and entitlement to seasonal resources among others.

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