Gadchiroli May 13 (District correspondent) To press the demand of immediate sanction of the pending forest rights claims of the farmers in Etapalli taluka, the affected dashed to the Tehsil office of Etapalli recently and submitted a memorandum to the district collector Sanjay Meena through the Tehsildar Anil Bhandekar.
Claims for forest rights of ancestrally encroached forest land for the agricultural use by the tribal farmers of remote, underdeveloped, backward and naxal-affected 198 villages have been submitted to the Forest Rights Committee of the Government in 2013 under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 and Rules 2008.
The discrepancies in the proposal were corrected after a hearing in the office of the Forest Rights Committee and the Sub-Divisional Officer Etapalli, but despite a period of ten years after submitting the claims, the claims of more than 3,500 farmers have not been sanctioned by the committee so far. Because of this, the farmers are not allowed to sell their agricultural products and they are also deprived of the various government schemes and benefits for agriculture, said the memorandum.
These farmers have no other source of income except encroached agricultural land for the livelihood of their families and they have been facing financial crisis, it was also pointed out.
The farmers have demanded that their encroachments be regularised and ownership pattas be granted immediately.
Adiwasi Vidyarthi Sangathana leader and former MLA Deepakdada Atram, Mulniwasi Hakka sangharsha Samiti President and Councillor Manohar Borkar, former ZP councilor Sanjay Charduke, Dohe Hedo, Deepak Madavi, Lula Talande, Basu Gawde, Chandu Pungati, Ramesh Gawde, Sainu Hedo, Maharu Talande, Kolu Talande and the large number of farmers and workers of Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) were present during the agitation.
The farmers have warned to intensify the agitation if their encroachments are not sanctioned immediately.