Skip to main content

Tribal body threatens economic blockage of Rourkela, housing one of the largest steel plants of India

By Our Representative
In a strongly worded letter to the President of India, a tribal organization operating off Rourkela, well-known township on the northern border of Odisha and popular for India’s one of India's largest steel plants, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), has threatened to trigger an indefinite economic blockade starting with January 20, 2015. Operating in Sundargarh district, in which Rourkela falls, the tribal body, Zilla Adivasi Mulbasi Bachao Manch, has said that the “blockade” would continue till the demand for cancellation of the Odisha government move to merge several tribal areas in the Rourkela Municipal Corporation is not cancelled.
The tribal body has argued that the state government decision has deprived the tribal and other forest dwellers of the rights of gram sabhas, pointing out Sundargarh being a scheduled area, the government needs consent of gram sabhas for any project in the area. Under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), gram sabhas self-govern their natural resources in scheduled areas, it insisted. A copy of the letter has also been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Insisting that he should use his position, as direct guardian of Sundargarh, the letter said, President’s rule should be “proclaimed in the scheduled district of Sundargarh in exercise the powers made under article 356 of the Constitution of India to protect the interest of scheduled tribe as well as scheduled areas.” The tribal body’s move comes at a time when Union tribal affairs minister Juan Aron declared in Bhubaneswar on January 11 that moves were afoot to “relax” the gram sabha’s consent in diversion of forest land for the developmental activities.
Saying that the agitation would continue till the cancellation of the “unconstitutional notification for Rourkela” dated November 14, 2014, the letter added, “In the name of national development large areas of lands were illegally alienated and lakhs of aboriginal people were displaced from their ancestral land and livelihood, without proper rehabilitation. Thereafter most of the aboriginal tribes’ lands were alienated and illegally given over to non-tribals.”
The letter reminds the president that Sundargarh was a princely state known as Gangpur and Bonai State, which merged with the Indian Union on January 1, 1948 and was declared as scheduled district in 1950. “Since then its administrative setup should be as per fifth schedule and administrative control through Union Commission vide Article 339 of the Constitution of India.”
Referring to the November 15, 2014 notification, the letter said, it was issued following call for objections and suggestions from the people of affected areas for the formation of larger urban areas in the district. Pointing out that a month’s time was given, the letter said, “The people of the affected areas of Sundargarh objected to it by writing and submitted memorandums, took our rallies and demonstrations against the move, as gram sabhas were not consulted.”
Even then, the letter said, the “larger urban area” for Rourkela was declared, adding, even after the notification “several peaceful demonstration were organized by the aggrieved people of Sundargarh, but no action or step has been initiated by the state government.” On December 20, 2014 “thousands of aggrieved affected aboriginal people peacefully demonstrated and gave memorandum addressing to the chief minister through the additional district magistrate, Rourkela, demanding clarity regarding formation of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation or cancellation of said notification on or before December 31, 2014.”
Asking the President to intervene in the matter and direct the state government to cancel the notification, the letter said, this alone would help establish “peace and good governance in the scheduled areas, as also in both rural and urban areas, in accordance with the provisions of the Fifth Schedule and Article 339 of the Constitution of India.”

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

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.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk  Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.