Skip to main content

Demand for rights of non-tribal forest dwellers in Indian forests picks up: Memorandum submitted in Odisha

By Our Representative
The demand for recognition of forest rights, as per the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, is starting to take a new turn in India’s tribal important tribal regions: Apart from the need to ensure tribals their rights over the forest land, human rights organizations have begun to increasingly insist on the need to recognize the rights of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) by “converting” forest and unsurveyed villages into revenue villages. This came to light in a list of demands put forward by Odisha rights bodies on the world human rights day, December 10. In a memorandum it prepared for submission to government officials also put forward several other demands which pertained both for tribal and non-tribal dwellers.
Asking the Odisha government for “immediate withdrawal of forest offence cases filed against tribals and forest dwellers”, a statement issued by them following a rally in Kantabaji, Bolangir district, said, they want the state government to come up with a “special financial package for Bolangir to meet distress migration”; bring in changes in the Inter State Migration Workman Act 1979 and ensure security of the migrant workers in other states; issue identity card to the construction worker and implement bonded labour prevention Act; and rehabilitate all released bonded labourers of the district.
They also demanded the need to provide work in all season under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), insisting, the scheduled tribe status should be provided to the “Paharia tribe”, who have been scheduled in the neighbouring state Chhatishgarh. Other demands include providing cultivable and homestead land to all landless and homestead less families; regularizing land rights of all families occupying over government land for generations; giving Permanent Record of Rights(RoR) over Bhugara land and Jagiri land; exempt all agricultural loan of the farmers and lunch pension scheme for them; and open agricultural based industries in the tribal regions.
The memorandum was sent to the Odisha chief minister, a copy of which was sent to the Chief Secretary, secretaries of SC&ST development department, revenue department, forest and environment department, panchayati raj. It was handed over to government functionaries of the Bolangir district.
The demands were put forward on the occasion of World Human Rights Day by noted rights body Zindabad Sangathan and Sramik Adhikar Manch of Bolangir, affiliated to the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD). They jointly organized a protest rally December 10 at Kantnaji, in which hundreds of tribals and forest dwellers from nearby blocks, i.e Kantabanji, Muribahal, Turekela, Khaprakhol, Belpada, Bongomunda, Titilagarh and Patnagarh joined in.
The protest rally began at the Government Bus Stand, Kantabaji, and moved around the town and marched towards the tehsil office. In the procession, the participants of rally held placards in their hands with their demands. A public meeting was organized before the tehsil office. Trilochan Punji, the leader of the joint endeavour, presided over the meeting. He shared objective of the programme sharing the various issues of Bolangir district on the human rights day.
Joining the Protest Rally as chief guest speaker, Prafulla Samantara, the noted activist and president of Loksakti Abhijan addressed the participants of the protest Rally. In his key note address he said, “The Constitution of India has provided rights to the people to live a life with dignity but the government of Odisha has failed to ensure it even in the 67 years of independence in the Bolangir district resulting distress migration of the people to other regions in search of basic livelihood needs.” He demanded a special financial package from the Government of Odisha to meet this.
Addressing the gathering, Lingaraj Azad, advisor of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Samittee(NSS) said, “We have to critically analyze the system of governance that we have. This system of governance has made our representatives and our employees as the owner. They have turned as govt. which is not a good sign for our democracy and we have to think for it.” Others who addressed the rally were Arun Mishra, representative of the Samajwadi Party, Bishnu Prashad Sharma, advocate, and Manohar Chauhan, member of the CSD.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.