Even as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi talks about reaching out to all marginalised sections,including tribals,Gujarat has cleared merely 32 per cent of claims under the landmark Forest Rights Act,and ranks among second from the bottom of the list of states in disposal of claims.
According to a reply by the Tribal Affairs Ministry in the Lok Sabha last week,of the 1,91,592 claims for titles received by Gujarat till July 31,the state distributed only 42,752 rejecting 18,399,a rate of 31.91 per cent. Modi has stressed the need for the BJP to reach out to all marginalised sections.
The Forest Rights Act,2006 seeks to give rights,including land and other resources,to forest-dwelling communities. Distribution of land titles is an integral part of the legislation. Gujarat ranks only above Uttarakhand which has less than 1 per cent disposal rate.
Modis fellow party leader Raman Singhs Chhattisgarh seems to have performed the best on this count,disposing of an impressive 99.19 per cent claims. Chhattisgarh is followed by Uttar Pradesh,Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Seven states have been able to dispose of over 90 per cent of the claims received.
However,most states rejected more claims than gave titles. For instance,UP distributed titles to only around 17,000 of its nearly 93,000 claims,rejecting the rest. In the overall national claim disposal rate of 86.70 per cent,15,19,672 have been rejected.
The ministry admitted lacunae and bottlenecks in implementation of the Act and that it has received complaints about threats faced by tribals of eviction from forest land.