New Delhi: Despite cultivating forest lands for years to make their both ends meet, the tribals are yet to get proprietary rights for the same.  However, the Centre has already granted this right to the tribes residing in forests under the Forest Rights Act or Tribal Act 2006.

According to the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Tribes, after the bill became law, 28, 49,000 claims from 17 states were received for the proprietary rights. Out of which12,67,928 were rejected during the primary investigation. Most of them were shorted out at gram sabha, sub-division and district level.

The Ministry cites the misunderstanding among the people as reason for cropping up of so many claims.
After the committee found that the state governments were even rejecting proper applications on technical ground, it recommended the Tribal Affairs Ministry that the state governments be directed to reinvestigate the matters.

Forest Rights Act or Tribal Act 2006 aims at recognizing and recording the rights of forest dwellers who have been residing and depending on forest for generations for their bonafide livelihood needs without any recorded rights.

As per the Act, the tribe who has been cultivating land till December 13, 2005 or non-tribes who have been residing and depending on the forest for 75 years would be given lease of four hectare.

The committee expressed annoyance over not granting proprietary rights to the tribes. They were not provided with title deed for their lands.

Through the President’s address delivered in December 2009, the Central government made the announcement to distribute the title deeds to the tribes. No time period has been fixed for the title transfer in the Act, argued the Ministry.

Later the committee recommended the governments to fix time period and transfer the title deed at the earliest so that tribes cannot be dispossessed from their land.

The committee urged the Union Forest and Environment Ministry to notify the national parks, wildlife sanctuaries soon to save the tribes from displacement.

The state governments have been asked to make arrangements for marketing of small articles produced by the tribes through cooperative committees.

JPN/Bureau