The controversial Forest Act to give land rights to tribals and forest dwellers will be applicable from January 1.
At a glance
• The Forest Rights Act rules give powers to the gram sabhas in identifying rights of the tribals and forest dwellers.
• The gram sabhas along with the district administration will have powers to give forest rights and allocate land to the beneficiaries.
It was announced after CPM members contended that the delay in the implementation of the bill has led to eviction of tribals from their homes in many states. CPM member Brinda Karat had said that through the law was passed about a year ago, rules to implement the Act has not been notified yet.
The Forest Rights Act rules, which were to be notified on October 2, were held back after the Environment Ministry opposed it. The ministry had asked the Tribal Affairs Ministry (TAM) to relocate all people living within critical areas in the wildlife sanctuaries and parks before notifying the rules.
The TAM replied that the condition is "very" difficult to implement. There are over a million people residing in the critical wildlife areas and "relocating them would take years, bringing injustice to crores of tribals," says a government official.
A settlement has now been reached between the two ministries under which, the forest dwellers in parks and sanctuaries will be relocated out of the critical areas within a limited timeframe.