Himachal Pradesh to evict over 6,000 forest dwellers
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