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CM assures abolition of VFR

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Social activist Anna Hazare had written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week, seeking her support for the Village Forest Rules

Mumbai : Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured a delegation of tribal activists that the State government is completely in favour of protecting the tribal rights and the Village Forest Rules (VFR), 2014 would be abolished to do so, a tribal leader has said.

It may be noted that social activist Anna Hazare had written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week, seeking her support for the Village Forest Rules and requesting her to prevail over party leaders Ahmed Patel and Mani Shankar Aiyar for putting out statements against the rules.


The NDA government in power at the centre in 2014 had denied permission to the Village Forest Rules, 2014.  But, a strong lobby of bureaucrats and people with vested interests have intensified back door efforts to implement the rules. The rules would give back the control of village forest lands to the forest department contrary to the provisions of the forest rights act of 2006, Chaitram Pawar, state unit president of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, said here after meeting Chief Minister Fadnavis.

“When we realised the efforts by the lobby to implement the rules, we decided to meet Chief Minister and the Governor to urge them to abolish the rules. In our meeting with him today Chief Minister Fadnavis assured us that the State government would not tolerate any efforts to curtail the rights of tribals,” Pawar added.

The delegation of senior office-bearers of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram along with representatives of several other tribal organisations comprised of Lakshman Tople, Konkan region president of VKA, Thamatai Pawar, Raigad regional president of VKA, Dr Santosh Supe from Pune, Parasram Vaghere, Corporator from Nashik, retired ACP from Thane Lakshman Kharpade were amongst the members of the delegation that met the Chief Minister, Pawar said.

While the forest rights act of 2006 is in force all across the nation, there was no need for a similar but diluted version of new legislation. More so, the efforts to bring in the village forest rules 2014 are against the constitutional provisions, said Pawar. Before bringing in any new legislation regarding tribals, a consultation with NCST and State tribal advisory council has been made mandatory according to Article 338-A(9) of the constitution. But, no such consultation has been made before bringing in the rules, he pointed out.