Tripura gives land deeds to tribals

January 18th, 2009 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Jan 18 (IANS) Tripura has become the first state in eastern India to hand over ownership rights of forest land to tribal people.”After the enactment of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act, 2005 by the Centre, the long cherished dreams of tribal people and traditional forest dwellers have been fulfilled after granting ‘Patta’ (title deed) of the land on which they had been residing for years,” Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar said Saturday.

Sarkar distributed land deeds among tribals, who account for about 33 percent of Tripura’s 3.2 million-population.

“The three Left front-ruled states - West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura - petitioned the Supreme Court against a case submitted before the apex court to block the enforcement of the historical land rights act,” Sarkar told a gathering after handing over a ‘Patta’ to a 72-year-old tribal woman Rabirung Rupini at Mandai, 22 km north of here.

The chief minister also suggested providing similar land rights to the non-tribal people who are also residing in forest areas for generations. Out of land claims of 126,000 tribal and forest dwellers, 22,000 claims were found valid of which 11,500 have been settled.

“I have asked the officials to settle those claims with a sympathetic approach as the tribal people are getting forest land rights after hundreds of years,” Sarkar said.

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