Can’t Get Its Act Together

The Left Front has been the biggest advocate of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), but its own former rule in home state West Bengal saw its worst abuse as well. Forest villagers dependent on tea garden jobs are indifferent to the Act. Families inside the Buxa tiger reserve are keen to surrender their rights for Rs 10 lakh each. But away from tea gardens and outside the tiger reserve, forest communities have bigger demands than the FRA allows. And a desperate forest department twists the Act to retain control.