SAMBA, Jan 3: Forest Rights Act-2006 extended to Jammu and Kashmir recently will not only provide the safeguards to rights and interests of Scheduled Tribe groups especially Gujjars , Bakerwals and Gaddis but will boost the tribal economy as well.
This was stated by noted Tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi, while addressing an awareness programme held at Samba about the process which is going to be rolled out for inviting applications from eligible forest dwellers / tribes.
The programme was presided over by Chowdhary Gulzar Ahmed Khatana, Ex-SSP while a large number of people from nomadic Gujjars- Bakerwals of Samba and adjoining areas participated.
On the occasion, Dr Javaid Rahi gave one and a half hour long presentation in Gojri on Forest Right Act . He guided the members of Gujjars and Bakerwal nomadic communities about the nature of evidence required for recognition of Forest Rights vesting in respect of forest land and how to stake claims before Gram Sabha, the Sub-divisional Level Committee and the District Level Committee.
He said the implementation of FRA involves recognition and vesting of the forest rights to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional Forest dwellers who have been residing in such forest for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.
He said this is a biggest relief that under the said Forest Rights Act , rights of traditional forest dwellers are stand protected against forced displacements, evictions from forest lands which the Gujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis were facing for the last many decades.
Dr Rahi said tribal are now entitled for ownership rights, cultivation rights and to use minor forest produce except timber, access to water resources, besides they will now have grazing rights on Forest lands, as well.
Ch Gulzar Khatana, in his presidential address, said that more such awareness programmes are required to guide nomadic tribes about their rights. He informed that next programme will be held in Kathua shortly. He also lauded tribal scholar Dr Javaid Rahi for spearing time to guide nomads in Gojri about FRA and other newly introduced schemes.