Uttarakhand's Tongia Villages Demand Revenue Status, Waiting Since 2008 for Forest Rights

Reported by

Surabhi Bhandari

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016

Updated on

October 21, 2016

Location of Conflict

Khatima

Haridwar

Nainital

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

4236

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

222

ha

Starting Year

1970

State

Uttarakhand

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

Pachoria, Rampur, Pantha Goth and Purushotam are recognised as Tongiya villages in Nainital district. Tongia is a method of plantation initiated by the British for plantation in the tarai (hill) areas, wherein people would move from place to place for plantation activities, mostly in the forest areas. They worked for decades to regenerate forests that were destroyed by the British until a forest conservation law in 1980 prohibited them from living and working in forest areas.  
Around 223 people in these villages were granted 4,200 acres of land in the forests for the purpose of livelihood. They were promised land in some other place within a few years, but the forest department did not keep its word and instead began plantation activities on that land. Meanwhile, the villagers could not claim rights over the land that was initially allotted to them as it was officially forestland. In 2008, they filed claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, but these claims are still pending. “Look at the irony. The forest builders became forest encroachers,” says Hari Singh, a Tongia activist from Haripur village.
The villagers have also demanded revenue status for their village. Such as status will enable van grams, or forest villages, to get defined borders and access development schemes for basic facilities, besides the setting up of schools, health clinics and village council (panchayat).
In 2018, the Uttar Pradesh government set a precedent by recognising 29 Tongia villages as revenue villages. The villagers in Uttarakhand are still awaiting the state's response to their demands. In October 2020, some of the villagers' forest rights claims were rejected without any explanation.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(1)(h) [Under this section, forest dwellers are entitled to claim revenue village status]; Section 4(2) [This section lays down stringent conditions that must be fulfilled before any forest dwellers are resettled or any of their rights are affected]; Section 6 [This section lays down the procedure to be followed in order to file claims under the Act]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Amendment Rules, 2012
Rule 12A(10) [This rule mandates all Sub-Divisional and District Level Committees to give detailed reasons if they reject a claim or recommendation regarding forest rights]; Rule 12B(4) [This rule mandates the District Level Committees to record reasons in the event that community forest rights are not recognised]
Ministry of Tribal Affairs Guidelines for conversion of forest villages into revenue villages under the Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006 dated November 8, 2013
These guidelines lay down a suggested procedure for conversion of forest villages into revenue villages.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs Guidelines dated July 12, 2012
Clause iii(d) [This section of the guidelines prescribes the state governments to take up conversion of forest villages into revenue villages urgently in a time-bound manner]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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