Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday handed over Forest Rights Act Certificates to members of Tribal Communities of the Jammu division of the Union Territory.
“We have formulated a robust mechanism to ensure these rights are decided at the grassroots level in consultation with PRIs and forest department. The Centre will provide financial assistance to develop infrastructure in every tribal habitat,” Sinha said.
Highlighting the newly launched schemes to extend education and medical facilities, besides offering sustainable employment opportunities to youth from tribal communities, Sinha said, “We have finalised a plan to build transit accommodation for migratory population and to develop tribal villages as model villages.”
“Work on transit accommodation will begin soon in tribal areas of Kandi, Thanamandi in Rajouri, Behram Gala in Poonch, and Udhampur and Ramban along the National Highway (NH). A similar plan is for Dubjan and Lal Ghulam in Shopian and along NH in Pulwama,” he added.
About 10,000 individual and community claims have been received in 10 districts of Jammu province, out of which more than 8000 claims have been scrutinized at the Gram Sabha/Forest Rights Committee (FRC) level.
Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, the Secretary of Tribal Affairs Department said, “It is a historic moment that the FRA is being given to the tribal communities. As the rights of the communities are recognized, the conservation of the forests will also improve. This will empower then them.”
“We aim to dispose of all applications with the next 75 days. It will be our ardent try to include all genuine people and to make sure no illegal entry is there,” he added.
Thanking PM Modi for the initiative, Jamat Ali, a beneficiary said, “The act was first introduced in 2006 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and has been overlooked ever after. Today, under the leadership of PM Modi and LG Manoj Sinha, it was reintroduced in September 2020 and has now been implemented.”
“Under the FRC, the tribals who own no land will not be moved from the forest anymore. They will have a place to stay where they are. Several castes are covered in it who were facing several issues earlier. The facilities would take time to implement but the development would be immense,” he added.
Nazir Hussain, a beneficiary said, “I would like to thank PM Modi, who after independence, allotted us land today. We faced a lot of difficulties when living like nomads. With the depths of my heart, I thank the Central government, especially PM Modi, for giving us our rights. Our lives will change now. It will be better. Even our children will study now.”
Mohammad Ali, FRC Chairman said, “I thank the Central government for implementing the program at a ground-level and extending the benefit to Bakarwals and Gujjars. We didn’t have a home earlier and were moved from one place to the other. But now, with this act, we will have a fixed place to be at. We’ll also be getting several other benefits like schools and healthcare, and I am really thankful for that.” (ANI)