The Odisha government is chasing an ambitious target of completing implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) by granting all kinds of rights mandated under the historic Act by 2024.
Addressing a national consultation on ‘Potential of Forest Rights Act in the context of Tribal Development; Implementation Gaps and Way Forward’ here on Thursday, Odisha’s ST and SC Development Secretary Ranjan Chopra said, “we are confident enough to launch Mission 2024 for FRA where we are committing ourselves to saturate the State of Odisha by granting all kinds of forest rights whether it is individual, community or habitat.”
“All tribals will be granted their rightful ownership. The mission is under scrutiny by Finance Department and Planning and Convergence Department. I think we would soon be able to launch the ambitious programme. By 2024, we would be able to achieve the mandate given to the State government under the FRA,” said Ms. Chopra.
“The journey which started in 2006 would hopefully conclude on a happy note by 2024,” she said.
The State government has set a target to convert 587 forest villages into revenue villages in targeted time. As of now, only 15 forest villages have been recognised as revenue villages.
“All old records of rights (land pattas) have been digitised and the future pattas would also be digitised. A dedicated website has been hosted to keep all records. The whole process of demarcation of land and reaching out to last citizen has been facilitated by non-government organsiation partners,” said Ms. Chopra.+
“Odisha has set up a dedicated project management unit only for FRA implementation. We not only want to do justice to our tribal communities, but also are trying to create a digital footprint so that this ownership of land is not lost in future,” she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Manoj Bapana, Director at Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, “As on date, 44.29 lakh claims have been received by different States while 22.34 lakh claims have been approved. An extent over 150 lakh acres of land have been recognised. Total of 38,92,431 claims, which is little over 87% of claims have been disposed of.
Ladakh has recently joined in implementation of the FRA. They are in process of setting Forest Right Committee, Sub Divisional Level Committee and District Level Committee.
According to Ministry of Tribal Affairs, a total of 22.34 lakh forest rights titles, including 21,32,217 individual and 1,02,075 community titles have been distributed so far in the country. Schedule V States account for 86.4% of total titles distributed. The States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha shares 56% of total titles distributed.
“Chhattisgarh reported the highest number of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims received (8,66,955) followed by (6,27,998). India records a 51% approval rate of IFR claims. The rate of approvals is highest in Andhra Pradesh (78.46%) followed by Odisha (72.89%),” the Ministry says.