Seeking Centre's support in providing water to tribal lands under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, Orissa government on Wednesday said it had already distributed land documents to over 55,000 tribal families.
This was stated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the conference of chief ministers on 'Implementation Status of Schedule Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006', in New Delhi, officials said in Bhubaneswar.
"It may not be enough to only confer legal rights to the tribals over the land," Patnaik said adding that steps should be initiated to provide irrigation facilities and improve productivity of these lands.
He said the state government had formed a Watershed Mission to improve productivity of rainfed lands and wanted centre's support to this programme so that it could be extended to the development of the lands where there are tribal settlments.
Stating that tribals constitute almost a quarter of the state's population, Patnaik said Orissa had the unique distinction of having 62 different types of scheduled tribes and 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs).
He said the state government had undertaken several steps to ensure all-round development of the scheduled tribes including the PTGs.
The initiatives include setting up of 6000 ST girls hostels, enhancement of scholarship for ST boys and girls, establishment of 19 educational complexes for promotion of girls education among the PTGs, establishment of one B.Ed training college in Kandhamal and setting up of 11 Ekalavya Model residential schools, he said.
Claiming that the state had achieved substantial progress on implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, Patnaik said out of more than 3 lakh cases filed by tribals with the Forest Rights Committees (FRCs) about 2.64 lakh cases had already been verified as on October 31, 2009.
The district level committees had approved about 68,000 cases out of which Certificates of Title had been distributed among more than 55,000 cases.
About 4,000 Certificates of Title had been distributed among the PTGs out of about 16,000 PTG families in the state.