Only 6,400 deeds issued against 1.6 lakh applications
The Karnataka Government has not issued title deeds to majority of applicants belonging to tribal communities as per the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, Kagodu Thimmappa, chairman of the Central Advisory Contract Labour Board, has said.
Almost every State in the country has implemented provisions of the Act, but Karnataka has fallen short on several counts, the former Minister told presspersons on Wednesday.
A total of 1.6 lakh applications had been submitted by Scheduled Tribes people and traditional forest dwellers seeking title deeds for the land that they cultivate and live on. However, of these, only around 64,000 title deeds had been given (as on January 31, 2011). While 12,000 applications were yet to be reviewed, 1.4 lakh had been summarily rejected, Mr. Thimmappa said.
According to the Act, tribal people and forest dwellers who have used forest land for 75 years are eligible for title deeds for 10 acres of land. The Act also mandates formation of forest rights committees at village level in order to create awareness among the community about their rights. In Karnataka, however, the committees had been formed at panchayat level, which was a violation of the law, Mr. Thimmappa said.
Several enquiries and reminders by the Union Government had failed to move the State Government into action, Mr. Thimmappa said, and added that by these omissions Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had done injustice to tribal people. The Union Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Panchayati Raj, and Tribal Affairs, and the office of the Prime Minister had made enquiries about these lapses at different points but to no avail, he said.