Forest Rights Act: Government to roll out handing over of rights to tribals
SRINAGAR: To take a firsthand appraisal of the various ongoing schemes and initiatives for the development of tribal communities of J&K and to discuss their concerning issues, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha Saturday interacted with a delegation of the Gujjar-Bakerwal community along with members of the Gaddi-Sippi Community, at Raj Bhavan.
While addressing the members of the delegation the Lt Governor noted that the UT administration is committed to make development of tribal population a key element of the overall development agenda.
“With the commitment of social equality, we have taken a slew of decisions in the last few months to bestow the due rights to all the tribal communities of J&K”, he added.
Development of Tribal communities of J&K is one of the top priorities of the government and for the first time in the history of J&K, we are going to roll out the handing over of rights under the Forest Rights Act from the coming Monday, the Lt Governor announced.
Recalling his previous interaction with a 70 member delegation of the tribal community in which detailed discussions were held on development, education and other issues of tribal population, the Lt Governor observed that the government has taken many unprecedented decisions for the development and upliftment the tribal population, besides contemplating a host of other initiatives in that direction.
“To implement an overarching plan for development of tribal communities, a two-month long survey has been conducted for effective policymaking based on ground realities”, he noted.
The Lt Governor informed that the UT government has decided to develop transit accommodations at 8 places at an estimated cost of Rs 28 cr for accommodating seasonal transitory population, besides provisions for medical camps, animal yards, veterinary care, and adequate security. The holding capacity and other requirements will be as per the assessments derived from the recent Migratory population survey.
He added that the government has decided to build Tribal Bhavans in Jammu, Srinagar and Rajouri. Project report is under preparation and the process will be started to construct the same.
To provide better healthcare facilities and to cater the needs of migratory population, the UT administration has come up with a Tribal Health Plan for which Rs 15 crore has been set aside, noted the Lt Governor.
“Government will create health sub-centre for the static population and mobile medical care units for the migratory population. It will be completely modern with good doctors and machinery and shall run with the collaboration of National Health Mission, Health Department, and the Tribal Affairs Department”, he added.
On the issue of ensuring sustainable livelihood for the youth belonging to the tribal communities, the Lt Governor announced the establishment of 1500 mini sheep farms, which will provide employment opportunities to 3000 youth in this financial year. The program will not be a one-time initiative and every year 33% new sheep farms will be established.
The Lt Governor noted that ‘Mission Youth’ along with Tribal Department have started the process of setting up 16 Milk Villages to connect at least 2000 youth to the dairy sector at the cost of Rs 16 crore, besides providing training, branding, marketing and transport facilities to the youth.
Highest ever allocation of Rs 73 crore has been allocated for Cluster Tribal Model Village this year by combining the Central Government and UT Capex Budget components and the tendering process for the same has been initiated without delay, added the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor said the UT administration has decided to link children belonging to tribal community with skill development programmes from among the identified 300 skill sets. Initially, 500 youth will be selected and trained in specialist courses like commercial pilot, robotics, management, etc, he added.
“Scholarships worth Rs 30 crore have been given to tribal children and this year 42,000 additional children will be provided this scholarship as compared to last year. 1521 Seasonal Schools for Migratory Children, two Residential Schools on the Migratory Route, 8000 e-learning tablets for children of class 7th and 8th and the salary of seasonal teachers has been increased from Rs 4000 to Rs 10000, he added.
The Lt Governor informed that the 7 new hostels which were under construction for the youth of tribal community are near completion and the UT administration has already proposed to the Union government to build 79 additional hostels.
“We have also decided to build Tribal Tourist Villages and in the first phase, 15 such villages will be selected and this work will be started with an amount of Rs 3 crore. Apart from this, if any youth from the community wants to start their tourism business, the government will provide them training and an easy financial assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh. We have not fixed a limit on this and the government will provide handholding to each and every youth who wants to go for it”, announced the Lt Governor.
Informing about the hike in funds for Eklavya Model Residential School at Gurez and Rajouri to Rs 32 crore, the Lt Governor said that we have submitted a proposal to build 5 more such model schools in the UT of J&K.
Observing that full rights were not extended to tribals of J&K earlier, the Lt Governor said that for the first time we have tried to bring the light of development in the lives of lakhs of tribal families by implementing the Forest Rights Act.
The Lt Governor said that the tribal communities will be getting rights over minor forest produce. The UT government in coordination with Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) will establish infrastructure for collection, value addition, packaging and distribution. Further, to empower the youth and women a cluster of 15 tribal SHGs will be established and Rs 15 lakh will be provided per group”, he added.
Ch Haroon Khatana, on behalf of the Gujjar-Bakerwal community expressed gratitude to the Lt Governor for fulfilling the commitments made during the earlier interaction held at Jammu in the month of April.
Various members of the Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities and Sh Anwar Choudhary Phambra raised their concerning issues and submitted a Memoranda of demands to the Lt Governor, on the occasion.
Our community has been kept away from development and prosperity for more than 70 years. Now, under the present dispensation, we are hopeful of a better future, said Sh Javaid Khatana, member of Gujjar-Bakerwal community.
Praveen Jaryal, representative of Gaddi-Sippi community, conveyed his gratitude to the UT administration for providing a common platform to the members of the tribal communities to project their concerning issues.
DDC members – Ms Shaista Aslam; Peer Shahbaz Ahmad, G H Mustafa also spoke on the occasion and thanked the Lt Governor led J&K Administration for working for the welfare and interest of the tribal communities. They termed the Implementation of Forest Rights Act and Political reservation to the tribal community historic.