Odisha should seek more time for reviewing rejected IFR claims, demand activists

first_imgOdisha government should seek more time from Supreme Court to complete the process of reviewing individual forest right (IFR) claims rejected under Forest Right Act, demanded tribal rights activists.Stating that IFR claims were rejected on frivolous grounds and due processes were not followed to review rejections, Campaign for Survival Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a forum which advocates rights of forest dwellers on forests, said gram sabhas should be empowered to prepare records, evidence afresh and submit the IFR claims.“The Supreme Court stay order on February 28 gave temporary relief to thousands of forest dwellers. However, the February 13th eviction order is still hanging over head of the lakhs of tribal and forest dwellers. Forest inhabitants whose applications have been rejected are facing an uncertain future,” said Gopinath Majhi, State convenor of CSD.“The IFR applicants have not been informed about rejection of their applications. About 51251 IFR claims have been shown rejected on the ground of lack sufficient evidence against the IFR claims in Odisha. We are of the view that let all these rejected IFR claims be sent back to the IFR claimants through the concern gram sabhas. They should be provided opportunity to submit application afresh with the required documents or evidence,” Mr. Majhi pointed out.He said 974 IFR applications were rejected due to incomplete application and forest dwellers should be deprived of their rights for their ignorance. Moreover, IFR claims were arbitrarily rejected by the officials at the sub divisional level committees.“Similarly, one of the reasons for rejection pointed out by SDLC is – land claimed is not forestland – in case of 32171 IFR claims. If the claimed land was not verified properly on the ground, how come the SDLCs and district level committees (DLCs) could know the category of the land claimed under IFR,” Mr. Majhi argued.The CSD said the huge procedural goof up made in past 10 years cannot be rectified in a month or two. It demanded all rejected IFR claims be sent back to concerned gram sabhas for carrying out demarcation of the claimed forestland afresh.The Supreme Court is set to resume hearings on the FRA on July 24.last_img

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