Clarion call to save Un-classified Government Forest in Tripura

Following rescind of the 1952 “Protected Forest” (PF) Notification in Tripura on the 9th August 1982, PF reverted to the pre-1952 status of Un-classified Government Forest (UCF). Stewardship of this 2195 square km of UCF, 21% of the geographical area of Tripura, lies now by default with the Revenue Department. The IPC, and not the Indian Forest Act, provides protection to UCF. There would be hardly any case under IPC against destruction of forest and forest land in UCF in the state.

There are community forests (CF) in some NE states. The government of Tripura may depute a team of forest, law, and tribal welfare officials as well as tribal community leaders conversant with customary laws to study CF in other NE states for possible adoption in Tripura. Wherever it is not feasible due to decay and decline of community institutions, the state may entrust management of UCFs to Gram Panchayats in accordance with the provisions under the Tripura Land Reforms & Land Revenue Rules, 1961.