Shirdi (Maha), Sep 30 (PTI) The work to provide forest lands to tribals in Maharashtra will be completed by December this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here Sunday. Also Read - ‘Uddhav Thackeray Should Make Stand Clear on Reservation For Muslims,’ Says Fadnavis

Ownership of forest land was one of the key demands of the farmers and tribals had who had participated in the ‘long walk’ held in March this year. Also Read - Devendra Fadnavis to Face Trial Over 2014 Poll-related Cases as SC Junks His Review Plea

He said the BJP-led state government has taken a string of decisions for the development of tribals. “The government has been trying to strengthen tribals through various developmental works,” the chief minister said. Also Read - Sharad Pawar Facing 'Perception War', Scared NIA Probe Will Reveal Truth: Devendra Fadnavis

Fadnavis was speaking at a conclave organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Vanavasi Ashram at Raghoji Bhagar Nagar in Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.

Ashram president Jagdevram Oram, Meghalaya former governor Ranjeet Shekhar Mooshahary were also present on the occasion.

“Maharashtra is the first state in the country to impose PESA (Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 through which five per cent funds were allotted to gram panchayats. It is also ensuring that the children of tribals get admitted in quality schools.

“To provide land rights to tribals, our government has taken an initiative to provide them land strips and the allotment work will complete by December this year,” the chief minister said,

The CM hailed the contribution of RSS-affiliated Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram for imparting education and sports training to tribals.

Earlier, the chief minister visited famous Saibaba temple in the town.

Maharashtra Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savara had said in March this year that the state government had already settled 50 per cent of the claims made by tribals under the Forest Rights Act.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.