Forest Rights Act: CS chairs maiden meeting of monitoring committee

Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam today chaired the maiden meeting of the UT-level Monitoring Committee, constituted under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 which was recently made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

Administrative Secretaries of the departments of Revenue, Forest, Ecology & Environment, Rural Development, and Tribal Affairs, besides Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) participated in the meeting, an official handout said.

It was informed that under the Act, the forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers will be provided the rights over forestland for the purpose of habitation or self-cultivation/livelihood; ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce, and entitlement to seasonal resources among others. “However, the rights conferred under this Act shall be heritable but not alienable or transferrable.”

The Chief Secretary impressed upon the Forest Department to kick start the initial survey of claimants by the Forest Rights Committees and assess the nature and extent of rights to be recognized and protected.

A sub-committee under the chairpersonship of Commissioner Secretary, Forest, Ecology & Environment was constituted to devise a suitable review mechanism, criteria and indicators for monitoring the process of recognition and vesting of forest rights along with appropriate monitoring formats.

The said sub-committee will have PCCF, Secretary and Director of Tribal Affairs Department as members and will additionally prepare a schedule to impart training to the members of District, Sub-Division, and Village level committees.