‘Benefits of forest Act should reach forest dwellers’

Awareness programmes on the Act to be held

Sirsi: K.M. Hegde Bhairumbhe, forest analyst, said on Sunday that the Forest Department had been doing the job of mere conservation, but the real forest development and maintenance was being done by the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers.

Speaking at a State-level workshop on “Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, at the Aravinda Hall here, Mr. Hegde said that freedom to forest dwellers was given now by passing the Act after 60 years of Independence.

He said that forest dwellers had been engaged in maintenance of forests and now this responsibility had been emphasised in the Act.

It was necessary to include the Act in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution to overcome the possible legal hurdles. Benefits of the Act should reach all the forest dwellers.

Voluntary organisations involved in the welfare of forest dwellers should shoulder this responsibility, he added.

Dhanajay Hegde Bellekeri inaugurated the workshop. It focussed on the implementation and formalities to be completed under the Act by forest dwellers. It decided to create awareness on the Act.

Activists from Chamarajnagar, Mysore, Kodagu and Uttara Kannada were present. The office-bearers of Vanavasi Kalyan’s Sirsi unit, M.S. Upadhya and Sachidananda Hegde, and the trustee of the State Vanavasi Kalyan, G.N. Bhat Harigar, were present.