Nothing to fear on forest rights issue: Prakash Javadekar

 Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said there should not be any fear among tribals of losing their forest rights and indicated that there might not be any dilution of the Forest Rights Act.

New Delhi: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said there should not be any fear among tribals of losing their forest rights and indicated that there might not be any dilution of the Forest Rights Act.

His comments come after Tribal Affairs Ministry objected to the recent Environment Ministry order that allowed district collectors to unilaterally clear diversion of forest land to expedite development projects.

"There should be no fear" on part of tribal dwellers over losing their right over forest land, Javadekar said when asked about concerns on the implications of the recent circular.

The Minister made it clear that as per the existing law, tribals would continue to have their forest rights. Similarly, non-tribals living for 75 years would also have the right on forest land.

On reports of possible changes to the Forest Rights Act, Javadaker said, "Don't believe all such rumour. We are not breaking forest rights, so there is no diversion....We explained the status of the Act (to the Tribal Affairs Ministry)."

On setting up of 'National Adaptation Fund (NAF)' for climate change, the Minsiter said that the government is giving "priority" to this and will come out with guidelines in the next 15 days.

"We have made a comprehensive plan. We are already putting up a mechanism. We have discussed with states and created state action plans. We expect guidelines in next 15 days," he told reporters at Indian Women's Press Corp here.

In the last Budget, the government had allocated Rs 100 crore for establishment of NAF for climate change. "We hope for more funds in the next Budget," he said.

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