Odisha to reassess claims for land rights under FRA

Bhubaneswar: Following the Supreme Court order asking the States to evict lakhs of claimants rejected under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) within four months, Odisha government today stated that it would select actual claimants on case-to-case basis and provide them land record of rights (RoRs/ Pattas).

Odisha SC &ST Development Minister Ramesh Majhi said the State government would definitely ensure that rights of forest dwellers are protected. “Initially district Collectors and committees formed by them would review the claims on case-to-case basis and allot patta to the actual claimants,” added Majhi.

Odisha government has been claiming that the State tops in allotment of patta under the FRA. Out of 5.80 lakh applicants, a total of 4.22 lakh have received pattas whereas applications of 1.48 lakh people have been rejected.

In Sundergarh, the constituency of Union Minister Jual Oram, a total of 16,864 applications were rejected. Oram alleged that rejection of application shows anti-tribal policy of the State government.

“The State government is claiming that it has distributed four lakh pattas. However, only two lakh of them have got the land whereas others only have the document. Rejection of the application reflects anti-tribal policy of the State government and it should be reviewed,” said Oram.

“I had applied for patta for the forest land 12 years ago, but have not received it,” said Milaku Pradhan of Tangarpali in Sundergarh.

Similarly, Kaberi Durua of Koraput who has been staying on forest land is still waiting to get the patta even after applying three years back.

“Three years back I had applied for the patta, but I am yet to get the land rights. We are forest dwellers and would be happy to reside here,” Durua.