Tribal welfare among top priorities of govt: J&K L-G
Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday handed over individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal, Gaddi-Sippi communities under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Describing the occasion as “historic”, Sinha expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making it possible to implement the Act in the Union Territory (UT), and said the move will usher a new era of empowerment and prosperity for the deprived tribal population here.
“I thank the PM Modi because of whom on December 1, 2020, we implemented the Forest Rights Act. Before 2019, many central laws were not implemented here. “The J-K administration, especially the forest department and the tribal affairs department, has started the endeavour to do something for the development of these communities,” he said. The L-G said about 20,000 applications were received and while several people have been given the certificates, all those eligible will be given the rights. “Apart from the Forest Rights Act, the administration has programmes for their education and health, and I am satisfied that we will be successful in joining the community with the mainstream,” he said.
“I want to assure that the UT administration is continuously working to protect the interests of tribal people, including their land; attention will be given to the maintenance of forests,” he added.
The L-G noted that the community also needed to be sensitive to their responsibility towards forests and other natural resources. “As we embark on this new journey, I urge my tribal brothers and sisters in J&K to also fulfil their responsibility to protect the wildlife, the forests like a member of their family, and maintain the biodiversity,” Sinha said.
In areas were community rights have been granted, ₹10 crore will be provided immediated for infrastructure development, he said, adding that work on roads, power supply, aanganwadi centres etc. will be started soon.
Sinha said that development of tribal communities of the UT is among the top priorities of the government, “this year, the highest ever allocation of ₹73 crore has been made for cluster tribal model village.”
The L-G further announced that 1,500 mini sheep farms will be established for livelihood; and 500 young people will be selected for skill development programmes.He said ‘Mission Youth’, with tribal department, has started the process of setting up 16 milk villages to connect at least 2,000 youngsters to the dairy sector at the cost of ₹16 crore, besides providing training, branding, marketing and transport facilities.
Sinha added that the tribal communities will also be getting rights over minor forest produce. The government, in coordination with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited, will establish infrastructure for collection, value addition, packaging, and distribution.