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Bista raises FRA, land rights and rural polls in LokSabha

Friday, Sep 25, 2020 10:45 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Sep 25, 2020 05:12 [IST]

Bista raises FRA, land rights and rural polls in LokSabha

Our Correspondent
DARJEELING: Darjeeling LokSabha MP RajuBistatoday said he placed the demand during the Parliamentsession that the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA 2006) in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts be expedited.
In a press statement, Bistainformed that he also requested the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to investigate and ascertain responsibilities on the part of those who have deprived forest dwellers their right to ParchaPatta.
“Placing the matter under Rule 377 of the Parliament, I informed the house about the discrimination meted out by the West Bengal government while implementing Forest Rights Act 2006. As per the FRA 2006, all forest villages inhabited by people must be converted into revenue villages and land rights and ownerships are transferred to the forest dwellers,” said Bista in a statement.
Bista mentioned that in 2013, the Bengal government issued a notification to convert forest land to revenue villages across the State. A Gazette notification for conversion of forest villages into revenue villages was issued for the neighboring districts of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar in 2014 itself. However, no steps have been taken by the West Bengal government towards conferring the same rights to the forest dwellers of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts where around 2.6 lakh people live in forest areas, he added.
The Darjeeling MP informed the LokSabha that these are ancestral lands of the people, and are ‘not occupied’. These lands are a symbol of the heritage and historical roots of the forest dwellers from our region. Labelling the ancestral lands of our people as ‘land under occupation,’ is grossly wrong and reeks of racism and attempt at delegitimizing the rights of our people, he stated.
Bistashared that he has requested the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which is the implementing authority for FRA to investigate the issue urgently and take necessary steps ensuring justice for the forest dwellers of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts by recognizing their rights to their ancestral land and ParchaPattafor the same.
Bistaadded that he also informed the House that, such was the level of deprivation that no Panchayat elections have been held in the region since 2000 because of which, for the past 20-years, people from the hill regions of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts have been left to fend for themselves.
“In the absence of elected Panchayat, there is no elected people’s body which can protect the rights of these people.” he said.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi