People demand halt on proposed status for Great Himalayan National Park

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Kullu: A joint Representation under the banner of Seraj Pryavatran Sanrakshan Sangharsh Samiti  has been sent today to the chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh by Dila Ram Shabab, Former MLA, Banjar Constituency, Guman Singh, Coordinator- Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Rajender chauhan, Coordinator – Sahara and Ajit Rathor, Former Vice Chairman,Panchayt Samiti Banjar demanding halt on proposed status for GHNP till proper public consultation and implementation  of Forest Rights Act.
The process of declaring Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) Kullu, as world heritage site under UNSCO has been initiated by previous government and application for the same was mooted without any consultation with local communities.  Second proposal is to create big conservation zone as Bio- Safer Reserve including GHNP, Pin Valley NP, Khir Ganga NP, Tirthan, Sainj,Kanawar and Rupi Bhawa wild sanctuary in to it. Third proposal has been initiated to declare Eco Sensitive Zone under Environment Protection Act-1986 in the same region of GHNP eco zone which include 13 Panchayats with its 160 Villages of Tehsil Banjar, Kullu.
As, it is obvious that all these three proposals were intentionally initiated in same region by Wild Life wing of HP Forest department to
promote personal interest of some officials of department and NGOs.

Samiti stand for conservation but conservation shall also look in to the well being of those humane who live nearby and are depend on these forests and forest land for their livelihood needs. GHNP has been finally notified as national park in 2001 and all forest rights such as grassing, herb collection, NTFP, and TD right has been abolished and Nistar rights such as pilgrimage and path ways  to Tirth, Rakti Sar and many other holy places has been restricted legally.

People lost their rights but received nothing and other way conservation objectives also could not achieved as it has been
propagated at that time formation by park authorities. No proper settlement of rights has been carried out. Award of GHNP had promised to provide forest rights in alternate nearby forest which still has not been fulfilled. Only about 350 families could seek compensation in lieu of forest rights and rest of many thousands of families has been denied because one century old Anderson Forest settlement report -1894 dose not mentioned their names in it. Cultural and religious rights were ignored in this award. Hence this award is faulty, incomplete and derogatory.
These new proposals of new type of conservation will further alienate local communities form their traditional forest rights.
Forest Rights Act-2006 came into force throughout country w. e. f., from January 2008 except J&K. Previous government of the state has not implemented this act and at the fake end on 27 March 2012 issued a notification for the same for non tribal areas. The communities living nearby the GHNP, Eco Zone and proposed Bio-Safer Reserve is traditional other forest dwellers and FRA applies to them. So it is needed to settle their forest rights first before going to propose new conservation or developmental project or right regime.
Samiti demands that Before proposing GHNP for world heritage site, bio Safer Reserve or Eco Sensitive Zone, the detail information shall be provided to local host communities and public hearing/consultation shall be conducted for the same.  After that matter shall discussed in Garm Sabhas.
Forest Rights Act-2006 shall be implemented throughout state and forest rights be settled as per this law. After the settlement of
Forest Rights in the area then Gram Sabhas may accept the agenda for these proposed conservation projects to be decided.
Gram Sabha has legal rights under FRA to conserve and protect forest and wild life. So People managed Great Himalayan National Park
and conservation areas shall be established.
Award for the GHNP which was announced in 1999 is faulty, incomplete and derogatory hence this shall be cancelled and forest
rights of the communities be reconsidered in core zone of the park and be settled under FRA. Whereas forest rights in wild life sanctuaries and eco zone exists and comes under the proviso of FRA.
They feel that these conservation proposals were intentionally designed so that people of Kullu, Seraj, Kinour and Sapiti may be
Denied form their Forest rights under FRA. So We demand enquiry in to this matter and why these three proposals has been proposed
simultaneously in this same region.

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Vineeta joined Mountain Voices Online few years ago. She covers health and politics.

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