The Uttar Pradesh Government in the first week of July 2018 granted Status of Revenue Village to three villages inhabited by the Tongia Scheduled Tribe in and around forests in Saharanpur district under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA).
These villages are - Kaluwala, Sodhinagar and Bhagwatpur.
What does Revenue Village Status imply?
The granting of Revenue Status to villages means that these villages will now come under the revenue department instead of forest department.
The Forest Rights Act, 2006 has a provision for turning forest villages into revenue villages so that civic facilities reach these areas.
According to the FRA, forest villages are “the settlements which have been established inside the forests by the forest department of any State Government for forestry operations or which were converted into forest villages through the forest reservation process and includes forest settlement villages.”
Other villages that were granted the Revenue Status earlier
The UP government recognised 23 Tongia Forest Villages of Gorakhpur and Mahrajganj; and four Tongia villages in Gonda as revenue villages in May 2018 and the conversion is still under process.
In 2010, three villages of Lakhimpur Khiri district - Soorma, Golbojhi and Devipur were granted revenue status. These villages fall in Dudhwa National Park core zone area.
The move comes after a delegation of forest dwellers from 15 districts of UP, headed by Saharanpur MLA Sanjay Garg, had met the Forest Minister Dara Singh Chauhan on March 27, 2018.
They had raised the issue of Tongia villages, nomadic tribe van gujjar issue and issue of adivasi and other forest dwellers. After these talks, a meeting was held to facilitate the process.
Tongia were the villages of plantation workers set up in the 1930s. With the passage of time, these communities permanently settled down in the area and slowly, these settlements have come to be known as the Tongia villages.
However, in recent times, the Tongia community has been facing discrimination in various forms., particularly, after the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 made the plantation work inside the reserved forests obsolete.
Source: Down To Earth
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