Agartala: Tripura Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, the frontal wing of the CPIM active in tribal areas of the state, came down heavily on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 saying that the new Bill would only shift control over land from the tribal societies to the “crony capitalists”.

A memorandum submitted to the Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairperson Rajendra Agarwal said any dilution to the Forest Rights Act 2006 which did not get any mention in the said Bill would imperil the lives of tribal people who are living in the forest since time immemorial.

“We are very much concerned about The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 because it denies and dilutes The Forest Right Act, 2006, which is most important for the survival of the tribals of our country. The correlation between the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980, and the Forest Rights Act 2006 is unignorable. But in the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, nothing is said about FRA, 2006,” the memorandum read.

The outfit said that the tribals, recognised as the most backward and vulnerable section of the society, have been living in the forest areas since time immemorial, enduring “multifarious problems” in the country.

“One of their major problems is land alienation,” a section of the memorandum said.

Raising a two-point charter of demands, the GMP said that prior permission from the concerned Gram Sabha and proper compensation should be arranged for the forest dwellers who naturally belonged to the tribal communities.

“Before implementing any developmental project in the forest areas, obtaining the consent of the gram sabhas of concerned areas is made mandatory. Proper rehabilitation and compensation should be done for the forest dwellers where eviction is unavoidable before project implementation starts,” it said.

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Explaining the significance of the Forest Rights Act 2006 and its implications in Tripura, the memorandum mentioned that a total of 1.29 lakh forest dwellers (tribal) had received land titles after FRA 2006 was enacted.

“Therefore, any dilution of FRA-2006 is unacceptable to the tribals. We are aware of the danger of global warming and the necessity of forest conservation, forestation, ecological balance, etc and we are not against the implementation of development projects in tribal areas. But we are opposed to the privatisation of forest land and resources for monopoly capitalists,” it said.

The memorandum was signed by TUGMP President Naresh Jamatia and General Secretary Radhacharan Debbarma.

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