All Adivasi families will get land by February end, says Balan
KOLLAM: Minister for Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan has said that Kollam has become the first district in the country to cover all Adivasi families under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
He was inaugurating a function at Kulathupuzha where titledeeds were distributed to 1,075 Adivasi families in the district. These families were identified from five grama panchayats in the eastern part of the district. They were living in 23 settlements adjacent to forests.
Mr. Balan said that by February end, Kerala would become the first State in the country to cover all Adivasi families under the Forest Rights Act. In fact, a silent revolution was taking place in the State through the distribution of forest land to the Advasis. The distribution of land to Adivasis had already begun in Thrissur, Palakkad, Wayanad and Kannur districts.
The Adivasis had been waiting too long to have land of their own. He said that though in 1975 and 1999 laws were enacted to provide Adivasis with land, those laws somehow were not implemented. But the present government was particular that the Forest Rights Act should not face the same fate.
Distribution of land to the Advasis was taken up as a challenge. He said that by now almost 10,000 Adivasi families had been given title deeds. Steps had been taken to ensure that by February end all Adivasi families in the State would become land owners.
The Minister said that demarking forest land for the purpose was a tedious job. But the Scheduled Communities, Revenue and Forest Departments had taken it up as a challenge.
A minimum of one acre of land was being distributed to the Adivasis. The document being given to them in this connection was a comprehensive one.
He said that enough care had been taken to ensure that the land as shown in the document came under the ownership of the respective beneficiary. But if it was found that there was no land against the document, strong action would be taken against the concerned officer.
Addressing the gathering, Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said that under the Forest Rights Act, land measuring from a minimum of one acre to even 7.5 acres was being distributed to Adivasi families.
The next phase of taluk-level ‘pattaya melas’ would begin from April.
He said at Kulathuuzha, the Revenue Department had handed over 50 acres of land to the Education Department for housing a national-level educational institution. Forest Minister Benoy Viswom, MLAs K. Raju and Kovur Kunjumon and district panchayat president K. Somaprasad also spoke.