Centre diluted gram sabha powers in Forest Rights Act before backing tribals in Supreme Court
New Delhi: The Centre issued a circular clarifying compliance with the Forest Rights Act and obtaining consent of the gram sabha under the act was no longer necessary to consider projects on forest land, a day before it sought a stay and modification of Supreme Court’s February 13 order directing states to evict over 10 lakh tribals and other forest dwellers.
According to the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Rules 2016, in effect since August 2009, the district collector needs to complete the process of vesting of forest rights under the FRA and obtain written consent of the affected gram sabhas before any project proposal reaches the forest department for consideration.
However, an environment ministry circular dated February 26, while clarifying, said, “compliance under FRA is not required for consideration of in-principle approval of a project.”
Tribals protesting against their eviction order held a Bharat bandh, on March 6.
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