Staff Reporter

KRISHNAGIRI: District officials were told to ensure the rights of forest dwelling for the tribals as per the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Necessary instructions were given by Viswanath Shegonkar, Principal Secretary, Adi Dravidar and Tribals Welfare, Sivasankaran, Commissioner, Adi Dravidar Welfare and Ravindran, Tribals Welfare, after a review meeting at the Collectorate here on Friday.

Officials of the Adi Dravidar and Tribals Welfare were asked to implement the various welfare programmes of the government in the tribal areas. Tribal people residing on forest land for generations had been cultivating and collecting produces like firewood from the forests. But they did not have the right over the property. Sometimes, they were viewed as encroachers. After the promulgation of this Act, the tribal people had the legal right to own and collect all minor forest produces. It would also ensure the ownership of tribal and traditional forest dwelling communities over natural resources.

Tribal people may submit claims for community rights such as use of fish or water bodies, traditional resource and bio-diversity access along with adequate evidence in support of their claims they enjoyed so far. According to the Act, tribal people can also submit claims for establishment of schools, hospitals, crèches, fair price shops, power supply and telecommunication facilities, drinking water connections, small irrigation channels, road and community centres.

Collector V.K. Shanmugam and P. Prabhakar, District Revenue Officer participated.