Forest Rights Act (formulation of ground rules) has been in operation since 1st January 2008. It is more than one year since it was supposed to be in operation all over the country except J&K. The act was supposed to be an effective tool to empower crores of forest dwelling communities in getting their constitutional and democratic rights in an around forest areas and to eradicate “historic injustice”. But it is evident now that the scenario at the state level is not like what it should have been. Whereas the forest people and its organisations are very enthusiastic with the Act, there is a lack of sincerity from the state governments and the officials (with some exceptions) in actual implementation of the Act. The central government has also not shown keen interest in this regard except some lip service. It had happened also with other progressive Acts like Zamindari Abolition Act 1950, Land Ceiling Act 1960, etc.
In February 2008, a collective effort was initiated by NFFPFW, known as National Forest Rights (Implementation) Campaign. Many activities and action programmes have been taken in the campaign in different states like Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Jammu region and also in other states. In this one year we have many rich experiences in different regions. It is now pertinent to review the activities in the changing political context both at the centre and the states and also to work for comprehensive strategy for effective implementation of the Act. It is more important now given the coming general election where the Campaign must put its efforts to make the issue of forest rights as one of the major issues on which political parties must make their position clear especially on the question of implementation of FRA. We need to involve non-UPA and non-NDA parties to play an active role in the Campaign. We must strive to make the Forest Rights a real national issue.
In this context we invite you to participate actively in the national consultation to be held on 25th & 26th February 2009 at Indian Social Institute, 10, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, (Behind Saibaba temple) New Delhi. Kindly reach Delhi by 25th morning as the programme will start by 1.00 p.m. We will also invite some important Members of Parliament on the 26th afternoon which is also the last day of this Parliament.
Please confirm your participation,
Yours in solidarity,
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