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LG hands over forest rights certificates to tribal communities of Jammu

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Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha handed over certificates of individual and community forest rights to the members of tribal communities of Jammu division on Saturday.

Addressing the event, Sinha said a new era of social equality has been ushered in for tribals in the union territory with the handing over of individual and community forest rights certificates to them.

He said their participation was significant in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act.

“We have formulated a robust mechanism to ensure these rights are decided at the grassroots level in consultation with Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and the forest department,” he said.

The LG also felicitated the Deputy Commissioners of Rajouri, Jammu, Poonch and Kishtwar for their “outstanding work” in the law’s implementation in their respective districts, an official press release said.

He also lauded the efforts of elected public representatives and the officers of Tribal Affairs and Forest departments.

“The UT administration is steadfast for their holistic development and prosperity,” he added.

Terming the Forests Rights as the basic right of tribal population, the LG said that with the complete implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006 in the UT, the interests of communities dependent on forest resources, and whose existence is incomplete without forests are safeguarded. The UT administration is steadfast for their holistic development and prosperity, he added.

Sinha said the government has launched various schemes to extend best education and medical facilities, besides offering sustainable employment opportunities, to the tribal youth.

“We have also finalised a plan to build transit accommodation for migrant population and develop tribal villages as model villages,” he said, adding the work on transit accommodation would start soon in tribal areas of Kandi, Thanamandi in Rajouri, Behram Gala in Poonch and along the national highway in Udhampur and Ramban.

Plans are also there for similar facilities in Dubjan and Lal Ghulam in Shopian and along the national highway in Pulwama district of Kashmir, he said.

The LG said that after Independence, many tribal representatives made the demand for safeguarding their right to education, healthcare, and on forest produce, which was not impossible to achieve but even after decades, the tribal community of J&K could not get their rights.

“I want to assure you that the UT administration is committed to protect your interests and whatever difficulties or obstacles may come, we will work to remove them from the way of your development and prosperity,” he told the tribal communities.

Sinha said the certificates will connect the tribal population with the mainstream development.

“It will play a huge role in the UT towards creating an equal society free from any social discrimination,” he said.

The LG also informed that 10,389 claims were received from all the 10 districts of Jammu division, out of which more than 8,000 claims have been scrutinized at the level of Gram Sabhas and Forest Rights Committees, and are now being examined by Sub-Divisional Level Committees (SDLCs).

Listing out various initiatives the UT administration has taken for the welfare of tribals, the LG said that transit accommodation in Rajouri, Poonch, Udhampur, and Ramban will also have medical facilities for tribal people and veterinary dispensary for their cattle.

The LG also mentioned about Tribal Health Plan, health sub-centre, mobile medical care units for the migratory population; Tribal Bhavans in Jammu, Srinagar and Rajouri; 1500 mini sheep farms for sustainable livelihood of tribal community and making them financially capable.

Selecting 500 tribal youth for specialized skill development programmes including commercial pilots, management, hospitality training etc.,  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.

The LG said that Rs 73 crores, together with the central government and the UT Capex budget, has been sanctioned this year for the Cluster Tribal Model Village.

Noting the problems faced by tribal community of J&K due to non-implementation of Forest Rights Act, the LG said that PM had started Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana in April 2018, so that the tribal community could enhance their income by marketing forests products, but the program too could not be implemented in the UT, now with the introduction of the Forest Rights Act, these rights have been given to the tribal community.

The LG expressed gratitude towards public representatives involved in this entire campaign and congratulated all the officers of the administration.

“We will review the impact of all the programs that are being run for tribal people and wherever required necessary changes will be made. With this new system of social harmony, a strong J&K will move forward on the path of development and prosperity,” concluded the LG.

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