Bhubaneswar: The State Chapter of Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD) the forum of the Tribals and forest dwellers which was behind the enactment of historic FRA, 2006 by the Parliament , in a press release put forth its demand before the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha to prioritize FRA implementation issues in the ongoing Collectors’ meet from 11th June to 13th June 2017 in the State Capital.
Giving reference to the Chief Secretary’s letter sent to the all the district collectors vide letter No. 12528/CS on dated 6th June 2017 on the “Collectors’ Workshop on Improving Citizen Centric Service Delivery” and giving reference of the letter issued by Sri Surendra Kumar, Commissioner Cum–Secretary, ST&SC Development Dept., Govt. of Odisha vide letter No-10535/SSD dated 5th June 2017 to all the district collectors regarding (i)Demarcation of the land vested with title holders under FRA,2006 ,(ii) Correction of RoRs & Maps in respect of the land vested with the title holders under the Forest Rights Act, and (iii) Disposal of sou-moto appeal petitions (arising out of rejected claims) under FRA., CSD asserted that “We are thankful to the Govt. of Odisha for being No.1 in the whole country in recognizing individual forest rights, for issuing so many positive Circulars on FRA and also for its acceptance of the facts of non-demarcation of most of the forest land recognized under IFR in the State.” “We also welcome the steps being taken by our new and young ST SC Development Minister, Ramesh Chandra Majhi for his kind review of FRA implementation in the State after his joining as Minister. However we are feeling aggrieved of the decisions taken in the last FRA State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) Meeting while reviewing FRA implementation in the State and bypassing the most important rights i.e. “Recognition of Community Forest Rights over Forest, conflict arising out of VSS etc.” CSD questioned.
CSD, Odisha also has submitted a note “Important Observations and Recommendations on FRA Implementation in the State” before the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha and has urged him to discuss on it in the ongoing Collectors’ Meeting in Bhubaneswar from 11th to 13th June 2017”.
It is to be noted that Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhee besides focusing on three Ts(Technology, Team Work and Transparency) in the three days Collectors’ meet emphasized on improving coverage, conversance with other schemes ensuring that legal rights (such as physical possession of land under FRA). Likewise, Surendra Kumar, Commissioner Cum–Secretary ST&SC Development Dept., Govt. of Odisha in his letter sent to the district collectors vide letter No-10535/SSD dated 5th June 2017 gives detailed information on the IFR and CFR rights recognized in the State up to 31st March 2017. As per the report produced by his office by 31st March 2017, in Odisha in total 4,08, 062 (4,04, 496 IFR, 3276 Community Rights(CR), 290 CFR have been issued in the State. Out of which demarcation of land issued under FRA has been done only in 1,86,405 ( 1,85,407 IFR, 741 CR, 257, CFR) cases, Correction of Record of Rights(RoR) has been done only in 47,161 (47,143 IFR, 18 CR, 0 CFR) cases and 1,49,150 IFR have been rejected (89,668 by Gram Sabha, 57,237 by SDLC and 2245 by DLC) in the State. The SLMC also noted that by the end of March 2017 in total 6881 appeal on FRA have been filed in the State.
Reacting upon the status of rejection shown by the Gram Sabha, CSD has said that while no gram sabha rejects any IFR claim of its members, the SDLCs in all the districts have arbitrarily rejected these IFR claims and have put the blame on the gram sabhas. CSD, Odisha has also urged upon the Govt. of Odisha to urgently resolve the issue arises out of the selling of Kendu leave by six Gram Sabhas in Golamunda Block in Kalahandi district. Reiterating its demand, CSD said that “wherever, the Gram Sabha wants to take over KL business in its own hand, the Govt. of Odisha should allow them and cooperate them.