By Lalit Mohan | The Tribune
DHARAMSHALA, India, 13 February 2015
The Cabinet today approved the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy on the guidelines of the Centre. The move is likely to provide relief to the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Minister for Revenue and Health Kaul Singh Thakur said there were about 200 cases of encroachments on forest lands against Tibetans just in McLeod Ganj. The High Court and National Green Tribunal had ordered the department to remove the encroachments on forest lands.
However, the Tibetan government-in-exile lobbied with the government as well as Centre seeking relief. It had been maintaining that relief should be provided to Tibetan encroachers as they were not allowed to buy land in India, Kaul Singh said.
He further said the Union Home Secretary had written to the state government against removing their houses as per the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy. Since now the Cabinet had also granted approval to the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy, the matter would be taken with the Tibetan government.
He said whatever encroachments had been made by the Tibetan government would be regularised while the encroachments made by Tibetans would be treated on a par with the encroachments made by residents.
Besides the common Tibetans, the Tibetan government has also been facing cases in various courts for either encroaching on government lands, or benami transactions. Many monasteries of Tibetans and Tibetan Children Villages (TCV) have been allegedly brought up either on lands purchased through benami transactions or forest lands.
Sources said about 70 properties of the Tibetan government had either been brought up on the land purchased through benami transactions or forest land.
Most land that is legally in the name of the Tibetan government was allotted to the Dalai Lama society by Himachal Government. The Tibetan government has further allotted this land to Tibetans. However, for the past more than 50 years since Tibetans came here along with the Dalai Lama, their population has grown. Since they could not buy land legally in India due to their refugee status and the government did not allot them extra land, the Tibetans have slowly encroached upon forest lands and purchased land through benami land deals.
The Congress government in 2004 had also brought in a policy to give one-time relaxation to Tibetans but the policy was never implemented.
In a nutshell
- There are about 200 cases of encroachments on forest lands against Tibetans in McLeod Ganj only.
- About 70 properties of the Tibetan government have either been set up on the land purchased through benami transactions or forest land.
- Encroachments made by the Tibetan government to be regularised while Tibetans to be treated on a par with Himachali encroachers.