Bhubaneswar: A one day workshop on “The implementation of Forest Rights Act(FRA and Panchatiraj Extension to Scheduled Area (PESA) Act, 1996- Issues and Challenges” has been jointly organised by Mayurbhanj Adivasi Bikash Manch(MABM) and Mayurbhaj Jala, Jungle, Jamin and Jana Adhikar Manch(MJJJJAM) on 19th March 2019 at NISWASS, Bhubaneswar. About 60 participants from different districts joined as participants in the workshop.
In the beginning, on behalf of the organizers, S.S. Hansada, Vice Chairman, All India Adivasi Congress welcomed all the participants and guests to the workshop and shared on the objectives.
The workshop was inaugurated by Padma Shri Tulasi Munda. In her keynote address she emphasized on the awareness on Forest Rights Act, 2006 amongst the community and holding of gram sabha as per FRA and PESA in all villages. She also call upon all the gram sabhas to take over the common property resources under their control and to resolve all conflicts and issues in the village itself so that no one would go to the jail.
In the first half of the workshop discussion on the implementation of forest rights act(FRA) in Odisha was held in which Ramgalal Jamuda, former Chairperson of Odisha State Food Commission chaired the session and Mr.Tushar Dash(member CFRLA) and Dr. Manohar Chauhan(member of Campaign for Survival and Dignity) joined as guest speakers.
Mr. Jamuda chairing the session raised serious concern over the 13th Feb Supreme Court’s Eviction Order of the IFR claimants whose claims have been rejected across the country and called upon the both the Central Govt. and States Govts. to strongly defend the FRA in the Supreme Court. Sharing his field visit experience on FRA as Chairman of the Food Commission he said , “there are many discrepancies in the FRA data being produced by FRA District Level Committees(DLCs and State Level Monitoring Committee(SLMC) and there is urgent need to demarcate all the forest land issued under FRA followed by RoR correction and extension of developmental programmes to the IFR title holders.”
Mr.Tushar Das shared on the process of enactment of the FRA in 2006, different rights recognized under the Act and on the forest rights recognition process. He also pointed out on the various threats to FRA under the BPJ led Govt. at the Centre i.e.,(CAMPA Fund Act, 2016, Indian Forest Policy 2018 and proposed amendments in Indian Forest Act, 2019) which are contradictory to and directly violate the FRA, 2006.
Dr. Manohar Chauhan sharing on the updated FRA implementation Status in Odisha said, “As per the nodal STSC Development Department, Govt. of Odisha by 31st March, 2019 in total 6,17,935 (5,86,245 of STs and 31,690 of OTFDs) IFR claims have been filed in the State at the gram sabha level. and 4,30,212 IFR titles ( 4,30,139 561 to STs and only 73 to OTFDs) have been issued over 2,60,028,752 Hectares /6,42,289.16 acres of forest land. Likewise by 31st March, 2019, 13826 CFR claims have been filed at the gram Sabha level and 6564 CFR titles have been issued over 95185 Ha/2,35,106.95 acres of forest land. Besides, it is also reported that in total 1,45, 750 IFR claims (1,18,316 of STs and 27434 of OTFDs)have been rejected in the State which are under serious threat after 13th Feb SC eviction Order”
Sharing on the various FRA implementation issues in the State he said, “While the Govt. of Odisha claiming to be No. 1 in issuing highest number of IFR titles in the country, in most of the cases IFR titles have been issued without demarcation and are full of errors. Many IFR claims have been missed at the SDLC level and are not reported, the SDLC and DLC have bypassed the rights authority of the Gram sabha and IFR claims of OTFDs have been ignored, recognition of community forests rights have been badly affected by the interference of Forest Department” he said.
In the second half of the workshop, discussion on Panchatiraj Extension to Scheduled Area (PESA) Act, 1996 was held in which Sandeep Pattnaik from NCAS joined as guest speaker and shared on the important provision of the PESA ACT. He also emphasized on framing PESA Rules in the State so that the provision of Central PESA Act can be implemented.
Dr. R.K Nayak, Retied IAS and former MP joined as guest of honor in the workshop. At the end of the Programme, Shyam Charan Hansda gave vote of thanks to all the participants and guest speakers of the workshop. Ashok Kumar Giri and others helped in organizing the workshop.