The Danitalai forest protection committee of Udaipur district in Rajasthan has been selected for the prestigious Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award for 2009-10 in recognition of its efforts for plantation and protection of forests. The Union Government will give away the award at a function in New Delhi on November 19.

Rajasthan has bagged the coveted prize for the third consecutive year. The forest protection committees of Karel and Paliakheda were given the award in 2008-09 and 2007-08, respectively.

Minister of State for Forest and Environment Ramlal Jat said here on Thursday that Rajasthan had become the only State in the country to secure the award for three successive terms. “It is [a matter of] pride for Rajasthan and has brought laurels to the forest committees doing a commendable work,” he added.

Mr. Jat pointed out that the members of the Danitalai committee, functioning in the tribal-dominated region of Udaipur district, had decided unanimously not to make claims under the Forest Rights Act because their plantation work had given them sufficient livelihood opportunities.

“It is a unique instance of protection of forests, in which the forest dwellers do not need any exclusive rights to the forest land,” said Mr. Jat, adding that the protection of greenery had in turn safeguarded the rights of people in Danitalai.