Skip to main content

Gujarat tribal farmers' new aspiration: Allow us tractors, give quality power to irrigate agricultural land

Tapi adivasis meet to raise major issues 
By Our Representative
In a development that may create some flutter in the establishment, the Akhil Bharaiya Adivasi Ekta Andolan, Tapi, Gujarat, in what may appear to be an unprecedented representation to the district collector, has demanded that tribal farmers should be allowed to use tractors to till their lands they have lately come to own. Coming from an organization operating in a district whose majority of the population is tribal, the representation wonders, at a time when tribals are being recognized as farmers and given land to till under the forest rights Act, 2006, there is little reason why they should be deprived of the use of modern equipment till their land.
Copies of the representation have been sent to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, minister for tribal affairs Kantibhai Gamit, forest and environment minister Ganpat Vasava, and Gujarat governor Dr Kamala.
“It is difficult to understand why is there ban on the use of tractors on the land we own”, the representation says, adding, “If not injustice, what else does it show?” Reflecting the new-found aspiration of the tribals, the demand has come at a time when some experts, particularly Felix Padel, a well-known anthropologist whose main field of interest is tribal people of India, have taken strong exception to handing over land to tribals in the forest areas (click HERE to read). In Padel’s view, this is the beginning of private ownership of land, an end of community ownership in the forest areas, and negation of making tribals collective owners of natural resources of forest areas.
Not just tractor, the tribals have also demanded power connections to till their land with groundwater, as they are allegedly deprived of surface irrigation from reservoirs to irrigate their fields. The representation says, they should be provided with quick power connection instead of making them wait for eight months, and power should be continuously supplies instead of just for four hours.
“It often takes six to eight months to get power connection in tribal areas. When we get power connection, it does not continue for more than four hours”, the representation says, adding, “Even today, the authorities continue to violate the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA, a law enacted to cover the scheduled areas in order to enable Gram Sabhas to self govern their natural resources. We also think that by refusing to provide us with basic facilities like power and communication link, the government is violating the consumer protection laws.”
The representation does not end here. It says, “We are living in the 21st century, when means of telephone and communication have become a necessity. However, to our utter surprise, the officialdom not only refuses to provide any such facility in the area we live. In fact, they snap the facility, if it exists in our area.”
In yet another demand, the representation demands that tribals must be “properly represented in government-formed forest welfare committees and watershed committees.”
It says, “Currently, these committees are formed arbitrarily by the government officials. The practice should stop forthwith, as this is being done in order to perpetuate corruption. We want these committees should be formed at gram sabha meetings, where all the villagers are present.” Watershed committees are an important factor for tribal farmers’ access to water to till their fields.
In yet another demand, the representation says, the tribals are “deprived” of their rights which they are entitled to under the reservation policy in case they do not identify themselves as Hindu. “This is discriminatory”, it points out, adding, “We should be identified only as tribals, and not as Hindus or any members of any other religion.” The demand acquires significance, as many tribals, if they identify themselves as Christian, are sought to be taken out of the reservation category of scheduled tribes. Often, this forces them to return to Hinduism to “obtain” advantages of reservation.

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”