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The Maharashtra government has already settled 50 per cent of the claims made by tribals under the Forest Rights Act, Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savara today said. "The rest of the claims pending since 2006 will be settled within six months.
The chief secretary shall undertake a review after two months on settlement of all pending claims," Savara told reporters here. The Act seeks to recognise and vest the forest rights and rights for occupation of jungle land on forest dwelling STs and other traditional dwellers who have been residing in such lands for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. On the issue of giving ownership rights of forest patches to tribals cultivating them for years, Savara said the issue shall be resolved within two months. Ownership of forest land was one of the key demands of the farmers and tribals who participated in the 'long march' that culminated in Mumbai today. While the Act came into effect in 2006, several tracts of land continued to be notified as forests despite members of various adivasi communities tilling them for years.
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