The President distributing land sanads to forest dwellers. (Image: X, previously known as Twitter/@rashtrapatibhvn)
Bhairo Kale, an 80-year-old tribal forest dweller from Goa, is now a happy man as after several decades of struggle he has received the ownership documents of a property which he inherited from his forefathers at a village in the coastal state.
Kale's dream of owning his land, located at Maplan village in Dhardandora taluka, came true on Tuesday when President Droupadi Murmu handed over the documents to him during a civic reception at the Raj Bhavan at Dona Paula near here.
President Droupadi Murmu attended civic reception hosted by the Government of Goa at Raj Bhavan, Goa. She also distributed ‘Sanad’ under the Forest Rights Act to some beneficiaries. The President praised the people of Goa for their generosity and hospitality.… pic.twitter.com/0b3qYI5oZ7— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 22, 2023
Murmu, who is on a three-day visit to Goa from Tuesday, distributed land sanads (documents of land related rights) to six tribals (representing their respective villages) under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the presence of state Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
LIVE: President Droupadi Murmu addresses a civic reception hosted in her honour by the Government of Goa https://t.co/iLpiRVZcgf— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 22, 2023
The state tribal welfare department recently initiated a special drive to settle claims of forest dwellers under the FRA.
CM Pramod Sawant in November last year assured the state government will settle all eligible cases of the tribal community members under the FRA before the end of its present tenure.
The tenure of the present BJP-led Goa government ends in 2027.
Sawant had said his government his fast-tracked cases related to the FRA in the coastal state.
Talking to PTI, Kale said, “This is an end to our 60-year-old struggle. We had been meeting several government officials and elected representatives requesting them to give the ownership rights of our own land." Belonging to the nomadic Dhangar community, Kale recalled how they used to live in mountains for six months in a year and return to the village for rest of the time.
This was some years back, but now Kale's family has their own house on the land, the ownership of which they were seeking for several years.
Kale has cultivated cashew and coconuts on the land, which is his only source of income.
“I am thankful to Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane for making our dream come true,” Kale said. He said 15 other families in his village will also get the land rights.
Anand Harvalkar, from Brahmakarmali village in Sattari taluka, who also received the sanad from President Murmu, said each eligible family will get the ownership rights over a certain area of land.
“This is a big relief for us. We could not avail the benefits of agriculture schemes or any other government scheme as we had no ownership documents. This sanad has made us the owner of our land,” he said.
Harvalkar claimed a total of 200 families in his village would be benefitted with the latest development.
Rama Gaonkar, from Sattari, who also received the sanad at the hands of Murmu, said these ownership documents will change their lives forever.
CM Sawant in November 2022 said cases under the Forest Rights Act were being settled since the previous three years.
"We have given sanads (land related rights) in 750 cases while there are 10,000 claims in all that need to be settled,” he had said.
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