In a historic step that has the potential to transform the lives of members of the deprived Tribal Communities in the UT of J&K, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha today handed over individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal, Gaddi-Sippi communities under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor termed it as a historic day for J&K and said that it was after a wait of more than 14 years, due rights have been conferred upon the Tribal community by implementing the Forest Rights Act of 2006, keeping in mind the basic spirit of social equality and harmony as guided by the Constitution of our country and the Parliament.
The Lt Governor said that under the guidance of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the J&K administration has been vigorously pursuing the ideals of establishing an equitable and just social order and has been working sincerely to empower the Tribal community, which remained neglected and discriminated against for decades together.
“Empowering the tribal community through Forest Rights Act means giving them back the rights for a better life while fulfilling the primary needs of water, food, home, and livelihood. It will certainly change the condition of their lives. They will become self-reliant with access to resources for their development”, he added.
Besides implementing the constitutional rights of the tribal community, we are also working to connect J&K’s tribal population and their new generation with the mainstream of development, added the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor, on the occasion, also recalled the formidable efforts of former PM and Bharat Ratna, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji for the welfare of Tribal and marginalized communities of India. He observed that Vajpayee Ji was at the forefront of this sincere initiative, besides launching campaigns calling for special recruitment drives to further empower the Tribal community.
The Lt Governor observed that a comprehensive exercise was undertaken by the officials of the UT administration immediately after the Prime Minister entrusted these rights to the Tribal community of Jammu and Kashmir. He noted that detailed discussions were held with all the stakeholders and special attention was given to have a firsthand assessment of the on-ground situation of Tribal population across J&K.
The Lt Governor lauded the role of the Department of Forests and Tribal Affairs for reaching out to the stakeholders in order to ensure the seamless transfer of rights to all the genuine beneficiaries.
“I want to assure that the UT administration is continuously working at different levels to protect the interests of Tribal people, including their land; full attention will be given to the maintenance of forests”, he added.
The Lt Governor noted that the members of the tribal community need to be sensitive towards their responsibility to nurture our forests and other natural resources. Rich biodiversity means a stable ecosystem, which plays a vital role in our cultural diversity and economic growth, he said.
“As we embark on this new journey, I urge my Tribal brothers and sisters in Jammu Kashmir to also fulfill their responsibility to protect the wildlife, protect the forests like a member of their family, and maintain the biodiversity”, the Lt Governor observed.
Informing that the work on Tribal Sub Centres, Roads, Power Supply, Anganwadi Centers etc. will be started soon, the Lt Governor said that in areas where community rights are being given, Rs 10 crore would be provided immediately for infrastructure development and more resources would be made available to them so that the tribal community can be empowered in true sense.
Referring to his interaction with the delegation of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi Community, the Lt Governor said that development of Tribal communities of J&K is among the top priorities of the government for which the administration has taken various unprecedented initiatives. “This year, highest ever allocation of Rs 73 crore has been allocated for Cluster Tribal Model Village”, he added.