CANACONA – Khotigao Gram-sabha passes 335 claims on Forest Rights (FRC) cases in the special meeting held on Sunday.
According to Khotigao Sarpanch Anandu Dessai, informed in the Special Gramsabha held on Sunday 335 FRC claims were passed and will be taken up for settlement.
Speaking further, Dessai informed that out of the total 641 claims on forest rights pending for a long period of time, 85 FRC’s were settled in previous seatings. ‘However, there are few instances where two of more applications/cases on one person’s name. Only after completion of a proper scrutiny, the actual number of pending claims for FR cases will come to light’, Dessai informed when asked about the reason for non-settling of all the cases today.
Incidentally, the special Gramsabha on claims of Forest Rights (FR) called on Sunday was attended by Canacona MLA and GLA Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, Canacona Dy. Collector & SDO Ramesh Gaonkar, Forest Rights Committee (FRC) Chairman Ashok Gaonkar besides Sarpanch Anandu Dessai, Dy. Sarpanch Punam Gaonkar, some pancha members and Panchayat Secretary Datta Velip were present.
Incidentally, while most of the claimants were present a few claimants and some of the frc members have however skipped the gramsabha, objecting to the non-following of proper procedure to call the meeting, besides the presence of politicians.
‘The FRC committee having 15 members, and according to the procedure, gramsabha to on claims for Forest Rights has to be called by Panchayat Secretary, which is first flaw and there should be involvement of politicians at the Forest Rights Claims settlement Gramsabha’, informed Khotigao Ex-sarpanch Umesh alia Daya Gaonkar.
‘’We want the claims of the forest Dwellers to be given at the earliest possible, but the FRC should properly examine the claims first and also should take care to follow the official procedure properly. I as a FRC Chairman after following the procedure had settled 9 FR claims in 2015 and procedures are going on to examine the rest of the cases in a time frame manner. But, since I also occupied the Chair of Sarpanch of the village, I was asked to vacate my Chairmanship of FRC, stating politicians can be part of settlement for Forest Rights claims, and after I gave up the chairmanship, the forest claims lagged behind’.
Gaonkar further informed that on Sunday, he and at least 4 others (in his knowledge) had not attended the Special Gramsabha as it was not convened properly, and besides, we learnt about the presence of politicians at the special gramsabha. Besides, daya gaonkar, the known others who have not attended Sundays’ special gramsabha on Forest rights was not attended by FRC members Devidas Gaonkar, Anand dessai, Meena Gaonkar Putu Gaonkar, while one member (Vaishnavi) is late and no appointment in her place.’
Devidas Gaonakar when contacted informed that Sunday’s gramsabha is illegal and he had skipped it not be a part of decisions taken on political directions. ‘Previously, even a sitting sarpanch was not allowed to be part of FRC meeting, now how can a sarpanch instead of Panchayat Secretary calls out a Special Gramsabha on FRC and a politician can chair that spl Gramsabha? What if, some of the claimants of forest rights approaches complain about this illegality, whatever decisions taken will be thrown to dust? Incidentally another FRC member claimed that FR claims are being taken up in gram sabha meeting without even doing proper demarcations.