Saturday, November 5, 2011

Good news for tribals: SC frees 7,700 ha land from forest Act.

Published Monday Oct 31, 2011, 14:31 IST
By Paras K Jha Agency DNA Ahmedabad

This will come as good news for hundreds of tribals living in four districts of Gujarat - Narmada, Vadodara, Dahod and Panchmahals. A long pending issue of deleting more than 7,700 hectare of land from the forest land records and transferring it as revenue land has been solved.
The supreme court has given green signal for the transfer. People claim that the land was used for non-forest purposes for long. Sources in the state environment and forest department confirmed the development and said, "The SC has given the order on September 23, but we are yet to get the final copy of the order. The state government had approached the SC in August 2010 by filing an application for speedy clearance of the issue."
According to sources, since the formation of the state, when forest land was notified under section 4 of the Indian Forest Act, some of the land was used for public facilities, grazing and cultivation.
"Now, as per the act, once the land is declared as forest land, it is covered under the forest act and no non-forest activities can take place there. So from 1960s to 1980s there were many claims over the land by local people. There is 7746.5406 hectares of such land distributed in four districts," said the official.
Now, the land can be utilised like any other revenue land. SK Nanda, principal secretary, state environment and forest department said, "The issue has been finally resolved after constant follow up by the department at the level of SC. This will ensure that these areas benefit from infrastructure and other welfare schemes.
The forest department will initiate the process for de-notifying these lands in concerned districts."

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