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July 10, 2007
Absence of a time frame for the determination of rights is a lacuna which could result in prolonging the status qou particularly by those individuals/Gram Sabhas who may be loosing out or may not be
benefiting by the provisions of the Act. Hence, it is important that a time limit for completing the exercise be imposed in Rules 19, 26 to 29 and 34.
SURRENDER OF LAND/FUTURE ENCROACHMENT
The rules are completely silent on the mode and manner for the surrender of land/rights, which are declared to be beyond the permissible parameters or by those whose claims are rejected.
The rules are also silent on the issue of prevention of future encroachment/ occupation of forestland by the present beneficiaries or by the existing/future members of their families or by others. This pregnant silence carries within it a signal to hold
on to illegally occupied forest land and to further encroach on forest lands, keeping in mind the pace of regularizations during the last four decades, that the government at some point of time in the immediate future, for reasons not very difficult to guess,
would buckle under and regularize such encroachments. Absence of these twin checks would prove to be disastrous for the forests and wildlife and the ecology of the country.
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