22 lakh tribals to get housing areas in neighbourhood forests

Mumbai: Nearly 22 lakh of the total 95 tribal people in Maharashtra are set to benefit as the Governor BS Koshyari has issued a notification modifying the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 that will enable forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwelling families to build houses in the neighbourhood forest areas.

The decision will provide a major relief to Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwelling families living in the scheduled areas of the State.

It will importantly prevent the migration of forest dwelling families outside their native villages and provide them housing areas by extending the village site into forest land in their neighbourhood.

The notification has been issued by the Governor using his powers under sub paragraph (1) of paragraph 5 of the Schedule V of the Constitution.

The Sharamajeevi Sanghatan Founder Vivek Pandit, who has been working for over four decades for the cause of tribal people, said it was a welcome move which will give a tremendous relief to the homeless tribals, who have their rights for generations but taken away by the draconian law by the British Raj and even after independence due to various norms. ‘’Tribal people were deprived by the government schemes due to lack of sites for building their homes. The vulnerable tribes including Katkari, Olam and Madia suffered a lot. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 even after 14 years has not yet fully implemented. Therefore, I appeal to the Governor to form a task force for the implementation of notification amending the act but also to implement other provisions in a time bound manner,’’ he noted.

During his visits to the tribal dominated Palghar, Nandurbar, Gadchiroli and other districts having scheduled areas, it had come to the notice of the Governor that certain Scheduled Tribes and forest dwelling families in the Scheduled Areas were moving outside their native villages and migrating elsewhere in absence of housing areas for their growing families.

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