Implement Forest Rights Act in state, say residents

The Tribune | Feb 15, 2020

Say govt must protect interests of forest-dependent communities

Demand for effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) on ground is gaining momentum in the Saraj valley of Mandi district.

A public meeting was organised in Thunag over the issue yesterday, where panchayat representatives, gram sabha members, forest rights committee representatives and women from the Saraj block marked their participation.

The people alleged that the implementation of the Act has been delayed in Himachal Pradesh due to bureaucratic lethargy.

They said the FRA, passed in 2006 by the Central government, provided legal recognition to the rights of forest-dependent communities but unfortunately, it could not implemented in the state till now.

Khem Daasi, BDC member, Saraj block, said, “Our lives are woven around forest land. Development is our fundamental and constitutional right. Even today, only 23 per cent villages in my region have access to proper roads. The non-implementation of the FRA is a big hindrance in development works.”

Sant Ram, Zila Parishad member, said, “It is the duty and responsibility of the government to ensure and protect our forest rights and forest-dependent lives.”