Himachal Van Adhikar Munch

Himachal CM assured Govt. committed to implement Forest Rights Act: Van Adhikar Manch

SHIMLA- Although, the opposition BJP and several critics call the assurance to prevent eviction of small and marginal farmers with less than 10 Bigha land, the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has again assured speedy implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 to prevent eviction of certain communities from forest land.

The assurance was given to a delegation that had approached the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and the High Power Committee constituted to look into forest land encroachment issue. The delegation submitted a detailed memorandum demanding to use provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006 to protect the interests of the small farmers and communities dependent the State.

Himachal Van Adhikar Manch, state level forum of social organisations advocating implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006, said in the memorandum that in Himachal has a huge population of more than 1.5 lakhs families of Gaddis, Gujjars, medicinal plant collectors, and other pastoral communities that are directly dependent on forest land for livelihood.

It further stated in the memorandum that close to 1.65 lakh families have applied under 2002 encroachment regularisation. The interests of these communities must be protected via full implementation of the FRA.

Many of these communities currently face a threat of forced removal of their occupations after the orders passed by High Court in April 2015 to remove encroached forest land.

The CM in response has assured the delegation that the government is committed to implement section 3 (1) of the Forest Rights Act 2006, and directed members of the High Powered Committee present to consider the same,

said a member of the Manch.

Members of the delegation also added that the Section 3 (2) of the Act has already been implemented by the State of Himachal Pradesh with a clear instruction from the Chief Minister in the whole of Himachal, as per the guidelines from MoTA., (letter dated 14th December 2015). In a similar way, the state government should show its commitment to implement the section 3(1) of the Act which recognizes individual and community rights for their bonafide livelihood needs, said the memorandum.

We appreciate the positive response of the government and the committee to the recommendations and observations presented by us and hope that they would take necessary steps to implement this pro-people act

, added Akshay Jasrotia, another member of Himachal Van Adhikar Manch.

The delegation included Akshay Jasrotia, Prakash bhandari, Pavana Kumari ( Kangra) Jeet ram and Guman Singh (Shilai) Ranjeet Sharma ( Bilaspur) Uma mahajan ( Chamba).

The High Powered Committee constituted by the government comprise of Nand Lal (CPS) and Karan Singh (Minister), Rohit Thakur, CPS, Tarun Kapoor, Forests Secretary and Law Secretary Baldev Thakur.

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