BISWANATH CHARIALI: With the objective of expediting issuance of land rights to Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers in Biswanath district, as per the provisions of the Forests Rights Act 2006, Deputy Commissioner of Biswanath, Pranab Kumar Sarmah on Thursday chaired a meeting of District and Sub-Divisional Level Committees formed for disposal of claims, and the forest department.
Sarmah stressed the need to generate awareness among forest dwellers regarding their rights as per the Act so that they adopt proper procedures to claim them. He said that only awareness would ensure that all bona-fide forest dwellers claim land rights. He also set a time limit of one month to the committees to dispose off all pending cases and fast-track processing of new claims. However, the committees and the forest department were asked to be extra vigilant while scrutinizing the claims so that no ineligible person got land patta.
"We will have to provide forest dwellers their land rights. But, we will have to also ensure that only those claimants who fulfill all the criteria; as laid down in the Act, are provided with land pattas. This Act is for those who have been living in harmony with the forests and not for encroachers who have been destroying forests," said Sarmah.
Dipan Barman, Subdivisional Officer (SDO-Sadar), Biswanath asked the committee members to visit forest villages and ask the dwellers to form gram sabhas soon. These sabhas will have to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) or Community Forest Rights (CFR). He also explained all the rules and guidelines that the committees needed to follow while disposing off the claims. The meeting was also attended by Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Biswanath, Dr Surya Kamal Borah.