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Gram Sabha enjoys largest power under Forest Right Act: Javaid Rahi

Jammu, February 14, 2021: Maintaining that the Gram Sabha /villagers enjoy the largest power in four tier committees constituted to implement  Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA) on the ground as their approval is essential for recognition of the rights of Tribal groups and other forest dwellers.

This was started by noted tribal researcher Dr. Javaid Rahi during 6 days Forest Rights awareness programmes held at Poonch and Rajouri districts.

The FRA awareness programmes were held at Panghar, Lassana, Surankote, Arai, Ajot Chandak  Mankote and Mendhar town during 8th of Feb to 14th Feb 2021.

Dr. Javaid Rahi in his address stated that the Gram Sabha  enjoys a key role in this Act and the duties of the Village Forest Rights Committee is  much higher as it has a role to settle  the claims of the Forest Dwellers communities after proper verifications.

He said that the basic criteria to get Rights on Forest land is their dependency on Forest for  Bonafede livelihood and as such it discourages land encroachers, grabbers to enter in the ambit of claimants.

He informed the Tribal Groups -Gujjars and Bakerwals that  they have no right to sell or lease the lands if granted under Forest Rights Act.

He cautioned the tribal people to be aware of the people who are spreading rumors amongst the tribes against filling up their claims. He said such elements should be identified and taken to task.

He further asked the community members to adhere to all the norm, rules, and regulations as warranted under the law so that their claims may not get rejected. He added that all the  procedural aspects linked with forest rights at individual, family, and at community level need to be  followed by the claimants in true letter and spirit . He said the Forest Rights Committee at Village level is key to  recommend rights in favor of  forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers communities.

Those who also spoke in these 6 meetings includes Ch. Javaid Rana Ex MLA, Ch Nazir BDC Chairman Hari Surankote, Altaf Janjoua -Urdu writer , Imtaiz Chowdhary and others.

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