Lachung, 8th February (IPR): A sensitization and an awareness program on Forest Right Act 2005 was held by the District Administration at Lachung Dzumsa. The meeting was chaired by District Collector North which was attended by the Sub Divisional Magistrate Mangan and Sub Divisional Magistrate Chungthang.
SDM Mangan provided a brief overview of the Forest Right Act and role and responsibilities of the Dzumsa with regard to implementation of the act. He stated that under the Act a Forest Rights Committee consisting of ten to fifteen members was required to be immediately constituted by the Dzumsa. Once constituted the applications of Forest Rights should be submitted to the Committee. The committee will verify the claims and objections and conduct joint verification with the Forest and Revenue officials. The final list will then be placed before the Dzumsa which will approve the claims received. The Sub Division Level Committee constituted at the sub-division will verify the claims submitted by the Dzumsa and forward the list to the District Level Committee for establishment of forest rights.
The District Collector stated that Forest Right Act was an important act as majority of the people settled in Lachung were traditional pastoral communities. Many claims were being received from the people but due to the lack of awareness, the act was not being implemented. He stated that it was therefore important to understand the provisions of the act and train the Forest Right Committee extensively. The roles and responsibilities of traditional forest dwellers under the Act should be clearly understood so that there is a balance between the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and conversation of Nature. He stated that future awareness meeting will be made if there is a demand from the people.
The District Collector while addressing the gathering also stated the need for sustainable tourism in the valley. He stated the over the years there has been a explosion in the tourist inflow and due to this it has led to mushrooming of unplanned concrete structures everywhere. There is thus an urgent requirement for proper town planning and regulation so that the traditional architecture and pristine beauty of the valley can be preserved for posterity. The youth of the valley should focus on generation of livelihood from tourism activities and the sub letting of hotel should be minimized. He appealed to the Dzumsa to regulate the construction activities and focus more towards high value tourism rather than commoditization of the tourism. He also stated the Border Area Development works should be focussed on revenue generation and livelihood creation for the youths.
The Awareness program was well received by the members of the Dzumsa who appealed to the District authorities to find a solution to their land rights.