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The Centre has asked nine state governments to expeditiously implement the Forest Rights Act, which recognizes the rights of scheduled tribes living in the forests for generations.
Tribal Affairs Secretary Arun Jha has written to the Chief Secretaries of Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand to implement the act immediately.
The Tribal Affairs Ministry has also asked these states to set up special cells to monitor the implementation along with setting targets and time-lines for the same.
The move came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi directing the ministry to implement the Act in a campaign mode and give land rights to tribals.
The Act is aimed at ensuring that forest-dwellers, including Scheduled Tribes, get their rights over forest land and non-timber forest produce.