Bhubaneswar , May 19: Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha which fought for the enactment of historic Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 in the country and currently monitoring its implementation in the State today alleged that the report on Community Forest Rights (CFR) produce by State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC ) is full of discrepancy. CSD, Odisha has targeted the nodal STSC Department after analyzing the last March and April 2015 Monthly Progress Report(MPR) on CFR in the State.
It is to be noted that while the SLMC had reported that till 31st March 2015 the total CFR claims filed was 12,500 (7,687 filed in ‘B’ form and 4,813 filed in ‘C’ form) and the total CFR titles issued was 3,474 (2,146 in Annexure ‘III’ and 1,328 in Annexure ‘IV’) in the State including 2,168 (1084 in total in Annexure III and 1084 in Annexure IV) in the Kandhamal district only.
It had reported that in total 1,80,163.50 acres of forest land was recognized under CFR in the State. However, suddenly in its April 2015, SLMC says that the total CFR claims filed as per Section 3(1) in the State till 30th April is 6572 out of which only 1511 CFR titles have been issued over 97,830.91 acres of forest land including 834 in Kandhamal, 169 in Kalahandi) and 126 in Keonjhar district. Besides, there are 390 forest diversion cases in which 537.37 acres of forest land have been diverted as per Section 3(2) of the FRA.
It is also to be noted that the nodal STSC Department had submitted the FRA MPR on 12th Jan 2015 to Ministry of Tribal Affairs(MoTA), GoI, in which it had reported that by 31st Dec, 2014, the total FRA titles distributed in the State was 3,44,068 including (3,40,594 individual forest rights(IFR), 2146 community and 3128 CFR and the total area recognized under FRA was 7,21,646.46 acres (including 5,41,482.96 acres under IFR, 1.09,391.46 acres under community and 70,772.04 acres under CFR etc.
“Not only the total number of CFR claims, CFR titles and area recognized under CFR have been suddenly changed but also the nodal Department has changed the CFR reporting format introduced in last February, 2014(bifurcating of claim under B and C and titles issued under annexure-III and IV) and has reverted back to its earlier format” CSD charged.
CSD, Odisha has found the following serious discrepancies in the last CFR Status Reports (30th April 2015) being produce by SLMC;
Firstly, the status report do not segregate the total numbers of CFR claims filed in the claim form ‘B’ and ‘C’ and also the number of CFR titles issued in annexure ‘III’ and annexure ‘IV’ as per FR Rules. “So far our knowledge goes, all most all the CFR titles issued in the State are issued in annexure III (CFR claims filed in form B form) in the State and only 43 CFR titles in annexure IV have been issued to the Gram Sabhas falling in the Similipal Tiger Reserves (STR) in the Mayurbhanja district in last April, 2015” CSD asserted.
Secondly, The total CFR area (97,830.91 acres) reported to have been recognized under CFR is faulty one because while district like District Level Committee, Kandhamal never mentioned the CFR area recognized in the CFR titles issued in annexure-III nor it reported to the SLMC, the SLMC has arbitrarily generated the (34040.03) CFR area against Kandhamal district in the CFR MPR and has also communicated the MoTA accordingly.
Thirdly, while the 31st March, 2015 Report had mentioned of 477 forest land diversion cases as per Section 3 (2) of FRA covering 1249.29 acres of forest land, the 30th April, 2015 Report has reduced it into 390 and has eaten 87 cases.
Fourthly, while the Gram Sabha itself is the claimant in case of community forest rights claim and it can never rejects its own claim and while Section 12A of the FR(amendment) Rules, 2012 strictly directed the SDLCs and DLCs not to reject any forest rights claim rather to remand back those claims to the concern Gram Sabha, the SLMC arbitrarily continue to report that 466 CFR claims have been rejected by the Gram Sabha,148 CFR claims have been rejected by SDLCs etc.
Fifthly, the Column 3A, Column 13A and Column 18A of the 30th April 2015 CFR MPR reflecting No. of village fully covered, No. of Gram Sabha and No. of Sub-Division confirming completion of recognition on claim” respectively are confusing one and have no meaning at all.
Clarifying the confusion continue to persist at different levels over CFR, CSD has asserted that “While “C” form is filed to claim rights over CFR areas and to legally ascertain community rights to protect and manage the CFR areas as per the Section 3(1)(i) of FRA, “B” form is filed to claim different types (nature) of forest rights over one’s CFR (forest) area and even outside of it (other’s CFR area) i.e right to collect Minor Forest Produce(MFP), grazing rights etc.
CSD has also suggested all the DLCs and SLMC that since forest area claimed under “B” and “C” forms and recognized in titles (annexure III and IV) would be the same, the Community Forest Resource(CFR) area should be reflected in the annexure-IV(issued against claim from C) only and it should not be reflected in the annexure-III(issued against claim form B).
“Despite our consistent appraisal on the CFR report, the SLMC has failed to produce a correct report” CSD claimed. CSD, Odisha has once again urged upon the nodal SCST Department to urgently make necessary correction in the CFR MPR and to adopt uniform process in recognizing community forest rights in the State. It has also requested the nodal agency to provide GIS/GPS support to the Gram Sabhas/forest rights Committees so that the CFR determination process can be expedited. CSD, Odisha has also urged all the DLCs and SLMC to widely propagate the CFR Guidelines issued by MoTA on 23th April, 2015 for the protection and management of CFR area.