Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday issued a notification modifying the Forest Rights Act, 2006 that will enable tribals and other traditional forest dwellers to "build houses in the neighbourhood forest areas". It will prevent migration of those living in forests and provide them housing areas by extending the village site into forest land in their neighbourhood, a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said.
The notification has been issued by the governor using his powers under sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 5 of Schedule V of the Constitution. This will "enable the forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest-dwelling families to build houses in the neighbourhood forest areas," the statement said.
The decision will provide a major relief to the scheduled tribes (STs) and others living in forests in the scheduled areas of the state, it said. During his visits to Palghar, Nandurbar, Gadchiroliand other districts having scheduled areas, it came to the governor's notice that certain STs and forest-dwelling families in the scheduled areas were moving out of their native villages and migrating elsewhere in the absence of housing areas for their growing families, it said.
The governor in May this year issued a notification under which tribals whose individual or community forest rights have been rejected by District Level Committees constituted under a special Act can appeal against thedecision. The notification provides a relief to tribals whose individual or community forest rights have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), a landmark legislation enacted bythe Centre in 2006.
The FRA seeks to restore rights of tribes living in forests for generations.