Jammu: The Government is gearing up for implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pertinently, the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 was extended to the UT of J&K after the reorganization of the State in October 2019.
In this regard, a video conference was held with all Deputy Commissioners of the UT, which was addressed by the Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, Shaleen Kabra, Commissioner Secretary Forest, Ecology & Environment Department, Sarita Chauhan, Administrative Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Rehana Batul and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Dr. Mohit Gera in which the action plan/roadmap for implementation was shared and discussed with the Deputy Commissioners.
The implementation of the Act involves recognition and vesting of the forest rights in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional Forest dwellers who have been residing in such forest for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. The Act provides a framework for recording rights so vested and the nature of evidence required for such recognition and vesting in respect of forest land.
The framework for recording the rights involves the Gram Sabha, the Sub-divisional Level Committee and the District Level Committee. The nature of evidence required are recorded in detail in the Rules and also involves ground verification by the Forest Rights Committee comprising of 10-15 members to be selected by the Gram Sabha.
The Government has already constituted the UT Level Monitoring Committee headed by Chief Secretary, District Level Committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Sub-divisional Level Committee headed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate and comprising officers from forest, tribal affairs and rural development department besides non official members.
During the meeting, the Deputy Commissioners were informed about the various milestones to be achieved at all levels, the importance of training and awareness creation among all the Governmemt and other functionaries. The modalities and schedules of the trainings, training resources and training providers were also informed to the Deputy Commissioners.
The trainings of official members of District Level Committees and Sub-divisional Level Committees shall be conducted from 29th to 31st December, 2020 and trainings for frontline Government functionaries belonging to Revenue and Forest Department shall be conducted from first week of January, 2021. This shall be followed by awareness cum training of the members of Forest Rights Committees as well as Sarpanches and Panchayat Secretaries for a thorough understanding of their role in the implementation of the Act.
After the completion of training on rights and determination of rights, the process will be rolled out for inviting applications from eligible forest dwellers / tribes.
Speaking on the occasion, Shaleen Kabra emphasized on smooth conduct of the process at all levels by the Deputy Commissioners.
Sarita Chauhan made a presentation on the roadmap for implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006, while Rehana Batul gave details of functions of all Committees and Dr. Mohit Gera, IFS, PCCF (HoFF), J&K made a brief presentation on trainings and awareness to be created at different levels of Committees.