Hi­machal Pradesh to evict over 6,000 for­est dwellers

Down to Earth - - FORESTS -

a po­lice case or had oc­cu­pied forest­land smaller than 0.74 ha. The gov­ern­ment did not go ahead with the drive be­cause of protests.

While ac­tivists have termed the high court or­ders anti-peo­ple, they blame the state gov­ern­ment for its re­luc­tance to recog­nise rights un­der FRA. Ac­cord­ing to the Union Min­istry of Tribal Af­fairs, of the 5,409 in­di­vid­ual claims and 283 com­mu­nity claims de­manded in the state, claims of just 238 in­di­vid­ual and 108 com­mu­ni­ties have been set­tled. Ac­tivists say that the Kashang hy­dro­elec­tric project in Kin­naur district highlights the gov­ern­ment ap­a­thy. In Septem­ber 2016, the National Green Tri­bunal hauled up the state gov­ern­ment for giv­ing a nod to the project with­out the con­sent of the gram sabha, which is manda­tory un­der FRA. Ac­tivists say the Congress-led state gov­ern­ment had ini­tially de­cided to chal­lenge the NGT or­der, but dropped the idea af­ter Rahul Gandhi stepped in. Till Novem­ber 2015, the state gov­ern­ment had di­verted 12,005 ha of forest­land for in­dus­trial projects.

By Anu­pam Chakravartty

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