Shimla : BJP Government was blamed by the Member of Congress and CPM in the state assembly that it is not settling pending claims under Forest Rights Act as a large number of cases were pending before the state Government for five to six years.
State Tribal Development minister Ram Lal Markanda said in reply to Ashish Butail during the question hours that the process was halted due to panchayat elections in the state but now committees had been formed till village level to resolve these cases on priority.
Minister said that “There were many discrepancies in documents filed for FRC cases which had been sent back. We have given training till panchayat level as to how to file claims for settlement of forest rights. Many times, it has also been seen that quorum during meetings is not complete which also causes delay in settling the claims,” he added.
Accusing the Government Congress member said that as many as 164 cases had been settled till date out of which 140 cases were settled during the previous Congress regime and only 24 cases had been settled by the state government under Section 3(1) of Forest Rights Act despite this government being in power in the last four years. He said that many forest rights claim (FRC) cases are still pending since 2016 with the state government but the people are moving from post to pillar for settling cases under the Forest Rights Act. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had assured to settle FRC cases on priority but no concrete action had been taken in this regard, he added.
CPM member Rakesh Singha also criticized the government for delay in settling claims of forest rights and said many claims were pending at initial stages. Congress member Jagat Singh Negi accused the state government of lying on the floor of the house and said the minister had submitted a half-baked and incorrect reply on the issue during the winter session of state assembly. The state government in a reply to a query on the issue had submitted wrong information during winter session as the number of FRC cases was much less in Kinnaur district. But now the number has increased. Mr Negi stated that the state government should conduct training on FRA in tribal areas while the government is conducting this in Mandi district.
Responding to the opposition members queries, the Minister said that the main reason for delay in settling FRCs was incomplete or wrong information filed by the claimants. The FRCs are submitted to Deputy Commissioners by panchayat level officials. The government had directed the concerned officials to not to reject any FRC cases as these could not be processed again if once these are declined, he added.