Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, the struggle groups which fought for the enactment of historic Forest Rights Act,(FRA) 2006, today organized a regional level convention on the implementation of FRA at Ananda Sishu Bhavan, Sambalpur.
More than 100 tribal leaders and members of the Forest Rights Committee(FRC) from different districts of Northern Zone like Bolangir, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundargah, and Angul participated in the Convention.
Gopinath Majhi, the State Convenor of CSD Odisha, shared that “the main objective of this convention is to draw the attention of the Commissioner of Northern Revenue Division on the various FRA implementation issues so that the Commissioner can review FRA implementation in different district”.
Hajaru Mallik of Lokadhikar Sangathan Bargarh said “while thousands of Individual Forest Rights(IFR) claim have been filed at the Sub Divisional Level Committee(SDLCs) in the northern districts, only claims of some tribals have been haphazardly recognized and IFR claims of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers(OTFDs) have been arbitrarily rejected by officials.”
Trilochan Punji of Zindabad Sangathan, Bolangir raised serious concern over non cooperation of SDLC officials and non-recognition of Community forest rights in the northern districts of the State.
Mrs. Anna Kujur of Athkosia Sangathana, Sundargarh district sharing various FRA implementation issues in the region emphasized on the conversion of all forest village into revenue village as per the provisions under FRA, 2006 in the region.
Pradip Prabhu, the National Convenor of the CSD addressing the convention said, “We have to remember that our village(gram sabha) is hundreds years older than the governments of the day who stanched away our community land, forest and declared them as government’s, now after 60 years of independent, the same government admitted that historical injustice have been done and has recognized the “Gram Sabha” as the “authority” over all its resources including forest.
He further said “enactment of FRA does not mean reddressal of our all problems rather we have to collectively use this FRA as a weapon to regain our land and forest.”
The Convention condemned the Govt. of Odisha for disrespecting the “Gram Sabha recognized under Panchaytiraj Extension to Scheduled Area (PESA) Act, 1996 and FRA, 2006 and continue to levy Royalty on Kendu leave, for lunching of anti- FRA ‘Ama Jungle Yojana” and doing plantation on individual forest land under horticulture scheme etc.
Among others, Pradip Sahoo, Manohar Chauhan, Manoranjan addressed the convention. At the end of the convention a memorandum was submitted to the Governor through the Commissioner, Northern Revenue Division, Sambalpur.