Chief Secretary (CS) R K Srivastava, who is also the chairman of the State Level Monitoring Committee on the Forest Rights Act (Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers, Recognition) on Wednesday asked the officers from concerned departments including the Department of Tribal Welfare (DTW), to complete the survey process for demarcation of land claimed by the Scheduled Tribes community in the state under the Act, by March 2016.
Srivastava also gave a green signal to the proposal moved by the DTW to outsource the survey exercise of forest land that has been claimed by the tribal community under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), and suggested to take assistance from the Directorate of Settlement and Land Records (DSLR) for appointing the agency to conduct the survey.
The committee meeting was convened on Wednesday by the chief secretary as its chairman under the provision of the FRA at Secretariat, Porvorim.
The meeting was attended by the secretary Tribal Welfare, P Mathew Samuel, director tribal welfare, Sandhya Kamat and other members of the committee.
Srivastava said in the meeting, that roadmap is needed to expedite the implementation of the FRA in the state in a time-bound manner, and suggested to the Tribal Welfare department to ask the Panchayat department to issue circular to convene the special gram sabhas of panchayats every month to discuss the FRA and the status of the claims by the tribal people.
He urged the officials to dispose of the claims on fast track which has clear documentation after the spot verification and completion of survey process and asked the Tribal Welfare Department to procure PDA machine to carry out land demarcation.
South Goa Collector, Sachin Shinde informed during the meeting that in South Goa a total of 13 claims (with 7 individual claims) have been disposed of by District-Level Committee, and added that 36 claims have been placed before gram sabhas.
“The mapping of 35 land claims have been done by the Directorate Settlement and Land Records (DSLR) and mapping of 822 land claims has been done using PDAs,” he added.
It was also decided at the meeting to appoint at least 12 teams of surveyors to conduct the survey of the forest land claimed by the tribals under the Act.
The official from the DSLR agreed to assist the district level committees and informed that they have already finalised 15 teams of surveyors.
A forest official said that there is some fresh cultivation of cashew plantation on the land claimed by the tribals in some area.
Shinde, said that the software access for PDA machines is needed, and added that it has to be taken from Madhya Pradesh government, to which the chief secretary suggested to write a letter to the MP government in this regard.
The South Goa Collector said that he intends to add the duties of landholders in the sanad format given by the central government. Srivastava told him to take approval of the government.
As per the records, there are 10,040 claims from the tribal community of which 9,671 are individual claims, 356 community claims and 12 facility claims.
The talukas which are covered under the Act are Sattari, Ponda, Dharbondora, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona.