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17 Jul 2018

Deeds for land to forest dwellers in process in Darjeeling

EOI, DARJEELING, 16 Jul 2018: The first steps have been initiated for the plan to provide title deeds for land to forest dwellers.
The Darjeeling district administration on Monday said it had taken up claims of villagers, dwelling in different forest areas in the hills for providing them with title deeds.
In June, the West Bengal government and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) had taken up the initiative to provide land right to forest villagers under the Forest Right Act of 2006.
“Implementation of Forest Right Act has not been done in the hills in the right earnest. In June, we (GTA) and officials of the concerned departments of the State Government held a meeting to take up the issue,” said GTA chairman Binoy Tamang after a meeting with the
Darjeeling district administration and other officials.
On the directive of the State Government, the GTA also formed committees at the sub-division level and the district level on June 20. “Today a district level committee meeting was held to review claims, clearance and updates of surveys that are in progress,” Tamang said.
Apart from implementing the “Nijer Griha Nijer Bhumi” scheme of the State Governemnt, the GTA is also keen to implement the Forest Right act in the hills.
The GTA chairman said out of the 168 forest villages in the hills, 149 have been registered and 19 are unregistered. The registering process for these villages is in progress.
Elaborating on the details of the claims of forest villagers, Darjeeling District Magistrate Joyoshi Das Gupta said: “Today we cleared 36 claims under the Rangli Rangliot block after verification. Out of the four forest village in Rangli Rnagliot, one is registered and thre are not. We have started the process to register them. We will not leave anyone out.”
The Darjeeling DM said 189 claims were received from the Sukhia Pokhari block on Monday which would be verified. “We have received the claims. On principle the claims are oaky but we still send then back to have the map drawn correctly which is very important when providing title deeds,” Das Gupta said.
The District Magistrate said it was clearly mentioned in the Forest Right Act that names of the beneficiaries and area of “ghareri” (dwelling) and cultivation area along with a map had to be correctly drawn. “Two types of claims are admissible as per Forest Right Act of 2006. First “ghareri” and second is self cultivation. Till the map is drawn correctly we cannot
provide title deeds,” she said.
Das Gupta also said that in Monday’s review meeting, claims of other forest villagers from Kalimpong district were also taken up. She said a nodal officer would be appointed very soon who would provide all the information relating to the Forest Right Act. “We cannot deny people their right. However, people must be aware that land that belongs to the government cannot be sold. It cannot also be achieved by giving or taking bribes. It is imperative that rules are followed,” she said.
The District Magistrate said that review meetings would be held as and when required as claims, survey and verification were an ongoing process. 

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