Violation of Forests Rights in J&K-III Gram Sabha to implement FRA, NGOs have a great role to play.

J&K  Forest Rights Act (FRA-2006) was being violated due to lack of information among Govt officials from Civil Secretariat to DC office or DFO office.  The FRA 2006 as I mentioned earlier is to be implemented by the village panchayat through Gram Sabha also called Deh Majlis in J&K. This article is aimed at creating awareness for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI’s) and Govt officials belonging to Forest, Revenue and Rural Development Departments plus the officials of Tribal Affairs department whose presence is not seen at district level in J&K. Interestingly Tribal Affairs Ministry at center is the nodal agency for implementation of this law. The Forest Rights Act 2006 (FRA-2006) was enacted to acknowledge the rights of marginalized and most disadvantaged communities living in remotest areas of India. People from these marginalized communities will hardly get updated or informed about this law and there is a great role of civil society actors, activists and media to reach out to them.

Section 6 of Forest Rights Act 2006 says that the Gram Sabha (Deh Majlis) shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both that may be given to the Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) i.e Gujjars , Bakerwals or other STs living near forests and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) within the local limits of its jurisdiction under this Act by receiving claims, consolidating and verifying them and preparing a map delineating the area of each recommended claim in such manner as may be prescribed for exercise of such rights. After this process the Gram Sabha shall pass a resolution to that effect and thereafter forward a copy of the same to the Sub-Divisional Level Committee (SDLC) headed by a Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM). Other members of SDLC  are concerned Range Officer, Block Development Officer, Chairperson Block Development Council (BDC) or recently constituted member DDC representing a particular block.