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Administration to expedite Community Forest Rights process in Angul

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Angul: To facilitate the process of Community Forest Rights for ensuring community rights over resources, a one-day workshop on Community Forest Rights was jointly organised by District Administration and Foundation For Ecological Security (FES) at DRDA conference hall yesterday.

Welcoming the participants Sarbeswar Sahoo, District Welfare Officer (DWO) said that government mandates settlement of Forest Rights Claims and 2725 Individual Forest Rights titles were recognised, about 700 claims are yet to be settled after due demarcation, it can be linked with MGNREGA for their livelihoods. Swapna Sarangi, Area Team Leader, FES said that according to the government data there is a potential of at least 1632 villages where Forest Rights Committees were reconstituted, only 600 (37%) CFR Claims have been made. Out of these claims, only 28 titles have been recognised covering an area of 51 hectares. All the titles recognised are Community Forest users’ Rights.

ADM Tapan Satpathy said that implementation of FRA, 2006 which is a Central Law is important and all concerned officials should cooperate in the process of ensuring community to get its rights over forest. He added that all Blocks should take up a targeted approach and complete the CFR claims process.

Pallahara MLA Mahesh Sahoo stressed on inter-departmental coordination as the key to ensuring developmental work at the community level. One of the major issues is lack of involvement of concerned officials and this can be addressed only through improved communication between officials of all departments involved in the process and ensure that the claims are settled at the earliest.

A presentation on the FRA and the Community Rights implementation process and role of FES and the Dist Administration was made followed by an open session where officials from Forest, Revenue, SC/ST development and Panchayati Raj departments asked clarification on FRA and its implementation issues. Sub- Collectors from Athamalik, Angul and Talcher, BDOs and Tahasildars from all block, Welfare Extension Officers from all blocks, representatives from Forest Departments of Athamalik, Angul and Deogarh Division and media persons were present on the occasion.