1,000 tribals in Vadodara to be given lands

VADODARA: About 1,000 tribals in Kawant taluka of the district would be given ownership titles of forest land under the Forest Rights Act on January 26, an official has said.Once the titles are handed over, tribals would become the owner of the land in their possession, Vadodara District Collector Vijay Nehra told PTI.He said this is the first time in the country that such a large number of tribals would be given land titles under the Scheduled Tribals and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights), Act, passed by the Centre around two years ago.The event would coincide with the Republic Day.The Gujarat Government has taken lead in the implementation of the Act, the official said.Teams from the forest and revenue departments are working round the clock in the area for completing all the formalities before January 26, Nehra said.The legislation grants land rights to the tribals and other traditional dwellers who are living in the forest areas since generations.According to the Act, farmers cultivating the forest land before December 13, 2005, should not be evicted till the title possession is proved otherwise.Madhusudhan Mistry, Congress MP from Sabarkantha, had submitted a list of 16,000 farmers cultivating the forest land in the different districts to the Chief Minister before the December 2007 Assembly elections. He had demanded that these farmers be provided land `pattas' (titles).