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Melghat Tiger Reserve, Amravati: Tribals' community forest rights "ignored"

By Our Representative
Khoj, a forest rights organization working in the Melghat region of Maharashtra, has said that villages in the Melghat Tiger Reserve, Amravati, Maharashtra, have been relocated without resettling either their individual rights or their collective community forest rights (CFR).
In a letter to the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, Khoj's Purnima Upadhyay has said, this is a violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), adding, the affected Villages are Barukheda, Nagartas, Amona, Churni and Vairaat.
"In fact the people of Vairat had made their CFR application, however, it was rejected at the Gram Sabha of the Gram Panchayat and the appeal to the SDO was not heard appropriately", Upadhayay said, adding, "There are further more villages to be resettled and hence your urgent intervention is needed".
Pointing out that "people are not only adequately informed by the authorities", the letter states, "It is the responsibility of the administration to ensure that their claims are filed and their matters are heard. There are more than 50 cases of CFR pending for the last two and half years."
Noting that "villagers yet to be relocated also ought to know that they have a right to co-exist after the recognition of rights", letter says, "If they decide to relocate after CFR, then the reloaction option of cash compensation should be completely withdrawn as it has no provision to compensate for the rights (either individual or collective) granted under FRA."

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