Siliguri: Forest dwellers residing along the proposed Sevoke-Rangpo railway tracks have demanded that implementation of any projects be halted until and unless they are provided with land rights.
They also demanded the immediate formation of ‘Gram Sabhas,’ which have the power to allow the use of forest land for other purposes.
The forest villagers organised a convention at a club here under the banner of the Uttarbanga Ban-Jan Sramajibi Mancha (UBJSM) and Himalayan Forest Villagers Organisation. Representatives of different non-governmental organisations also participated in the convention and extend solidarity with the villagers.
According to the villagers, as per the Forest Rights Act of 2006, the government or any other agency cannot take up a project in the forest without the consent of forest villagers.