Source: News Bharati English26 Oct 2015 13:39:04

New Delhi, Oct 26: The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA), an NGO working for welfare of tribal people in the country has demanded the central government to implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006 across the country including the protected areas like national parks and the wildlife sanctuaries besides all the seven states of North East. The Kalyan Ashram said that several state governments are avoiding its implementation in these areas.

The Kalyan Ashram released a press statement immediately after submitting memoranda to the concerning ministries of the central government by VKA delegation. The memorandum stated that much of the recognition of Community Forest Rights under the FRA is awaited across the country and a special campaign is needed for this work.

A delegation of VKA met the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Dr Rameshwar Oraon and the MoS in the Ministry of Environment & Forest Prakash Javadekar who assured to look into the issues concerning Janjatis raised in the memorandum.

The VKA has also demanded to enact a new Indian Forest Act (IFA) scrapping the imperial legislation of the IFA, 1927 which has been irrelevant after enactments of the FRA 2006, Forest Conservation Act 1980, Biodiversity Act 2000, Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the PESA Act 1996.

The statement further said that the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas), better known as the PESA, Act, 1996 has mandated to delegate 29 powers to the Village Panchayats and the Gram Sabhas in the Scheduled Areas (SA); but most of the 10 SA states have yet to do so. VKA has demanded to introduce the system of a separate Annual Conference of Governors and CMs of these 10 states so that the work of effective implementation of the PESA Act can be accelerated.  These 10 SA states are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

The delegation consisted of VKA’s President Jagdeo Ram Oraon, Jt Gen Sec Vishnu Kant; Regional Org Sec (North) Suresh Kulkarni and Sribhagwan Agrawal, Neetish Singh and Munish Sharma of Delhi Unit of VKA.