After J&K, Ladakh begins implementation of Forest Rights Act

Constitutes committees at district, sub-division level

By: Faizan Wani

Srinagar: The administration of Ladakh Union Territory has set the ball rolling for implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) after the President of India delegated powers under the law to Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh.

To begin with, the administration of UT has constituted district level and sub-district level committees for implementation of “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act- 2006”.

According to an order, the district level committee would be headed by the concerned deputy commissioner and comprise of district forest officer of concerned district, wildlife warden of concerned district, three members of district panchayats to be nominated by concerned Hill Council and district social welfare officer.

As per its terms of reference, the district level committee shall ensure that the requisite information has been provided to the Gram Sabha or forest rights committee.

It shall also examine whether all claims, especially those of primitive tribal groups, pastoralists and nomadic tribes, have been addressed keeping in mind the objectives of the Act.

The committee shall also consider and finally approve the claims and record of forest rights prepared by the sub-divisional level committee.

It will also hear petitions from persons aggrieved by the orders of the sub-divisional level committee.

The sub-divisional level committee shall be headed by concerned sub-divisional magistrate and comprise of range officer/block forest officer, three members of the block or tehsil level panchayats to be nominated by the concerned Hill Council and tehsil social welfare officer of concerned block/sub-division.

These committees shall provide information to each Gram Sabha about their duties and duties of holder of forest rights and others towards protection of wildlife, forest and biodiversity with reference to critical flora and fauna which needs to be conserved and protected.

They will also provide forest and revenue maps and electoral rolls to the Gram Sabha or the Forest Rights Committee.

These panels will also collate all the resolutions of the concerned Gram Sabhas and consolidate maps and details provided by the Gram Sabhas.

They will also examine the resolutions and the maps of the Gram Sabhas to ascertain the veracity of the claims.

Besides, they will also hear and adjudicate disputes between Gram Sabhas on the nature and extent of any forest rights.

They will also forward the claims with the draft record of proposed forest rights through the sub-divisional officer to the district level committee for final decision. (KNO)

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