FRA Implementation Transforming ST Lives

SRINAGAR: The implementation of the Forest Rights Act is strengthening the democracy at grassroots level besides correcting the wrongs done in past by replicating the true spirit of the Act across Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesman said.

“In September 2021, the Jammu and Kashmir government scripted a historic chapter when Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, handed over individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar, Bakarwal and Gaddi Sippi communities under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 at a momentous event in Srinagar,” the statement said, insisting the event was hailed as a significant step with a potential to transform the lives of members of tribal communities as the rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers were recognized albeit a long delay.

An 80- year old, Wali Muhammad of Kotrang Rajouri reveals how he was facilitated by the administration in providing FRC which he had desired for all life so that he can also have rights so some forest land and its produce.

After a long struggle and efforts for more than 14 years due rights have been conferred upon the tribal community through the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, keeping in mind the basic spirit of social equality and harmony as guided by the constitution of our country and the Parliament.

Conferring rights over the forest land for these forest dwellers is poised to elevate the socio-economic status of a sizeable section of 14 lakh population of tribals and nomadic communities including Gujjar, Bakarwals and Gaddi Sippis in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nasir Hussain, Sarpanch of Mandi Poonch is grateful of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha for giving them rights on the forest land which was their long pending demand.

Similarly, Sarpanch of Upper Pachwal Rajouri expresses gratitude to Government of India for providing livelihood to the ST community under Forest Rights Act which was pending from last 70 years.

These people have been living in the forests since centuries without any right over the forest land but implementation of FRA proved to be of great help for these forest dwellers. The Act was a step towards redressing prejudice and empowering communities to participate in the management of forest and wildlife protection. The preamble to the Act itself notes that it recognizes the historical injustice to tribals and others who have been traditionally living in forest areas.

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