C’garh second state in recognising forest rights claims

Raipur: Chhattisgarh has become the second state in the country after Odisha to recognise the forest rights claims as well as the forest lands acquired by Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

So far, four lakh individual and 24,000 community forest rights certificates have been distributed in the state while recognition has been given to 3.42 lakh-hectare land in individual claims and 9.50 lakh-hectare land in community claims, an official release said on Tuesday. “Chhattisgarh stands second at the national level both in terms of providing recognition to forest rights claims and forest lands,” it stated.

Quoting Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs’ figures, it said Odisha tops the list of states in distribution of forest rights certificates while Maharashtra is number one in providing recognition to forest lands.

After coming to power in Chhattisgarh last year, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel organised a state-level workshop on forest rights and reviewed the implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006, it said. During the workshop, it was found out that a large number of forest rights claims have been rejected due to procedural shortcomings.

Baghel had clearly mentioned that it was the priority of his government to provide forest rights to all the claimants of the forest rights certificates. Accordingly, rejected applications were reviewed. Directives were issued to district collectors and forest officers for reorganisation of forest rights committees at the village level. Simultaneously, directions were also issued for formation of district-level committees and departments, the release said.