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Forest Rights Act irrelevant in Arunachal, says state government

The Arunachal Pradesh Government has told the Ministry of Tribal Affairs that the Forest Rights Act does not have much relevance in the state.

It said that as most of Arunachal Pradesh is wholly domiciled by various ethnic tribal groups, their land and forests are specifically identified with natural boundaries of hillocks, ranges, rivers and tributaries.

Barring few pockets of land under wildlife sanctuaries, reserved forests, most of the land in the state is community land, said the government.

Territorial boundaries of land and forest belonging to different communities or tribes are also identified in the same line, thus leaving no scope for any dispute over the possession of land, forest and water bodies among the tribes, the government said.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs' records indicate the claims have been initiated only in the States of Tripura and Assam. In Arunachal Pradesh, very recently, the Department of Social Welfare has been selected as the nodal department for the implementation of the Act.

The same is the status for Meghalaya and Mizoram, while Manipur has not sent any response, Nagaland is examining the applicability of the Act and the Government of Sikkim says they do not have any forest dwelling community.