Ahmedabad (Agencies): Implementation of the Forest Right Act (FRA) has been disappointingly slow in Gujarat, with the approval percentage being only 10 of the total forest right claims received in the state, the National Committee on FRA has stated in a report.

"While Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Tripura processed 100 per cent of the claims received, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra processed above 90 per cent claims. Some states are abysmally low (below 40 per cent) including Gujarat, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu), the report revealed.

"Given that the implementation was supposed to begin in January 2008, the implementation process has clearly been disappointingly slow in these latter states," the report by Joint Committee set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to review the implementation of FRA in April 2010, said.

Gujarat had received 1,82,558 Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims till October 2010, out of which 18,745 were approved even as around 15,000 were rejected and the rest, over 1.4 lakh claim were still pending.

The sanction of claims in Gujarat was 10 per cent of the total claims received. Only one other state has lower rate than Gujarat which is Karnataka (4 per cent).

Higher claim approval percentage has been registered from states like Tripura (68), Assam (66), Orissa (58), Andhra Pradesh (54), Kerala (52), Rajasthan (50), Madhya Pradesh (31) and Maharashtra (31).

The report said application of spatial technologies, including remote sensing, global positions systems and geographic information systems had the potential to help in objective determination of physical status of claimed lands.

It said Gujarat tried to use the technology but its approach was badly designed, lacked proper ground verification and transparency.

The report also revealed that there have been widespread violations of the FRA, where claims have been rejected without giving applicants a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

It said there was also extensive practice of rejecting claims without giving reasons, and informing the claimant very late, thereby denying an opportunity to appeal.

However, it said that in some districts of Gujarat the civil society groups and officials were pro-active that has resulted in more claims being filed.