FRA Helps Dhenkanal Tribals Gain Land Rights (Download PDF)

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FRA Helps Dhenkanal Tribals Gain Land Rights

  • Munda and Santhal tribals recently got forest rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  • They were brought to Dhenkanal district in Odisha from Jharkhand over a century ago to work in its forests.
  • The Odisha government issued a notification for the conversion of five forest villages where the tribals live into revenue ones.
  • The provision of converting the forest villages into revenue ones is stipulated under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Overview

  • The five villages are
    • Gangamunda
    • Khajurinali
    • Chalujharan
    • Bhalutanagar in Kankadahad Tehsil
    • Karadabani in Kamakhyanagar Tehsil
  • Some other villages are also in the process of being converted into revenue villages. These are
    • Khuribhanga, Kalaspur Balisahi in Kankadahad tehsil
    • Kankilimuda sahi, Barabharania and Kenchudi in Parjang tehsil
    • Deulisahi in Kamakhyanagar tehsil
  • The total population of these villages is around 3,000 people.
  • The ‘forest villages’ have been defined under FRA as
    • The settlements established inside forests by the forest department of any state government for forestry operations. Or
    • Those that were converted into forest villages through the forest reservation process.
  • They include
    • Forest settlement villages
    • Fixed demand holdings
    • All types of taungya settlements
    • Lands for cultivation and other uses
  • Taungya is a system of forest management in which land is cleared and planted initially for food crops.
  • The king of erstwhile princely state of Dhenkanal brought the tribal community in as forest workers.
  • The princely state used to pay taxes to the colonial British government.
  • As the state was well endowed with forests, they were exploited to generate revenues.
  • Timber and elephants were the main forest resources for the state.
  • The animals were captured from the forests of Dhenkanal and sent to princely states in western India, which had royalty but no royal elephants.
  • Most of the 2,474 forest villages across the country aren՚t surveyed.
  • Some, however, like the ones in Dhenkanal have been included in the Census report as ′ unsurvey forest villages.
  • These villages on account of being on forest land and unsurvey are deprived of all government facilities like water and electricity.
  • The inhabitants of these lands never got formal rights over these lands.
  • The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs created guidelines for the conversion of forest villages in 2013 and sent it to all the states.
  • After 2017 guidelines, Badmul in Angul district was the first forest village to be converted to revenue in the state.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 30, 2020

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