बुधवार, 7 अप्रैल 2010

DM visits Dudhwa village to inquire into FRA claims

 Surma village situated in Dudhwa National Park in Lakhimpur Kheri district. Home to Tharu tribe for centuries, the village was visited by senior officials of the district administration led by district magistrate Sameer Verma, who reviewed the preparations of distribution of land titles to the villagers under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006. The Surma is the only
tribal village situated in a forest reserve area which is all set to get the status of a revenue village.
    Interestingly, according to tribals and their representatives, it was for the first time after independence that a district magistrate visited their village. The district administration moved into action following strict directions from the chief secretary A K Gupta on effective implementation of the FRA 2006. The FRA is a special law which provides right to tribals and forest dwellers on forest land on
which they are dependent since ages. The chief secretary had also ordered review of over 51,000 claims filed by forest dwellers but rejected by officials.
    Total 70,000 claims have been filed and around 9,000 land titles have been distributed.
    The DM spoke to the villagers individually and asked them about their claims. Villagers informed the DM that their claims are ready but have not been verified as yet as the forest department has not provided them relevant documents.

    The DM was upset to know that revenue and forest officials were not working effectively as directed by the chief secretary.
    He warned of strict action against officials found lax in their duties. He said that villagers should file their claims by April 15.
    He also directed forest officials to provide all relevant documents for verification of claims as early as possible.
    Rama Chandra Rana, a resident of Surma and also member of the state FRA monitoring committee, said that the attitude of the district administration was positive. Rajnish, a volunteer of national forum of forest people and forest workers, said that such initiatives by district head would help in expediting the implementation of FRA in the state.