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Delay in afforestation act rules threatens tribals, forest

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

today said the Centre's delay in making draft rules for the Compensatory Fund Act 2016 posed a "serious threat" to the rights and livelihoods of tribals and forest dwellers. The rules are yet to be made public despite former minister Anil Madhav Dave's assurance to the Rajya Sabha in July 2016, said in separate letters to Minister and M Venkaiah Naidu. On July 28, 2016, the late Dave had assured the Upper House that the rules for the Act would be finalised after extensive consultations with different stakeholders, including MPs, wrote to Vardhan. Dave had also assured the House that the rights of gram sabhas under the Forest Rights Act 2006 would be fully protected and that compensatory under the Act would be undertaken only with the consent of the gram sabha concerned, the former minister said. Over one-and-a-half years later, the rules are yet to be made public, said.

He had not got a reply from the minister despite making a special mention in the House on July 19, 2017, he added. "Meanwhile, compensatory activities continue and the rights and livelihoods of lakhs of tribal and other traditional forest dwellers' families are under serious threat. "I get the distinct impression that you have no intention whatsoever of making the draft rules for the Compensatory Fund Act 2016 public and discussing them with an open mind with different stakeholders as your distinguished predecessor had promised," told Vardhan. In a separate letter to Naidu, referred to the special mention he had made in the House and said no consultation had taken place and no rules promulgated. "I regret to say that even after seven months, I have received no response to this special mention from the ministry. "You have yourself urged ministers to respond both to special mention and zero hour notices expeditiously. I am sorry to point out that your directions have not been followed in this particular case," wrote to Naidu. He wrote a second letter to Naidu, saying that he had also urged the tribal affairs ministry to give greater priority to the settlement of community forest rights under the Forest Rights Act 2006 during his special mention. He had asked the ministry to restore the 2009 policy which had made adherence to the provision of the Forest Right Act 2006 a prerequisite for and forest clearance for projects in tribal areas of the country. "I regret to say that even after almost seven months I have received no response to this Special Mention either from the tribal affairs ministry or the ministry. "This goes against the established practice and violates directions given to the ministers by the of Rajya Sabha including including by you yourself," he told Naidu.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 15:25 IST
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