The National Advisory Council (NAC), formed to provide inputs to the government on policy issues, has expressed its dissatisfaction over the settlement of community forest right claims under the Forest Right Act -2006 in the state.
“Odisha has done well in the implementation of individual forest rights. But as far as the community forest rights are concerned, the state is not doing as well as Maharashtra, especially in the Gadchiroli district where large tracts of forest land have been given to the communities for management,” said N C Saxena, member, NAC.
Saxena was in the city to attend the two-day workshop on Community Forest Resource Right organised by the Union ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme.
Odisha has made a beginning, but it will take a lot of efforts to see that community rights are also properly settled, he added.
The state has settled about 3,35,000 individual rights and 3000 community rights claims till date. “Due to our efforts in last few months, we have managed to mobilise more than 10,600 community claims, we will be taking steps to resolve these claims at the Sub-Divisional Level Committees and District Level Committees,” said Santosh Kumar Sarangi, secretary, ST & SC development department.
Data available with the state government shows that out of 10,731 community forest rights claims received, decision has been taken on only 4,905 claims. No community rights claims have been received from Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Jagatsingpur and Puri districts.
Similarly, out of 545,898 individual forest rights claims received, 338,198 have been settled as on August 2013. Titles of 535,791 acres of land were handed over to 338,198 families. “While in large number of states, individual claims received and settled have made some progress, community forest resources right is a major challenge. Less than five per cent of total claims filed belongs to this category,” said Vibha Puri Das, secretary, Union ministry of tribal affairs.