Skip to main content

No need for panchayat, gram sabha nod to carry on mining work in non-scheduled areas: Gujarat government

An AKSM poster following efforts to dub it as terrorist body
By Our Representative
The Gujarat government believes it can go ahead and mine any part of Gujarat if it is not a scheduled area, and it does not need any permission or consultation from the village panchayats or the gram sabha under which a proposed mining area comes. This has been revealed in a state government document, which provides replies to a large number of social and economic issues raised by the Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Manch (AKSM), which has been active in the tribal areas of Gujarat for the last nearly a decade.
Critics say, this is type of view is in "complete contrast" to the sporit of the 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution, which provides for panchayat control over common resources falling under the village.
The AKSM had asked state authorities whether panchayat permission had been sought for sand mining in Sihor village of Chhotaudepur district in South Gujarat. To this, the government geologist, Chhotaudepur, responsible for giving mining permission, said, “As Sihor village is not a scheduled area, there is no need for the government to seek permission of the village panchayat for this.” The Sihor panchayat, significantly, had passed a resolution opposing sand mining in its area.
The government view has come in the midst of rampant sand mining going in a large number of wetlands, especially rivers, of Chhotaudepur and Tapi districts of South Gujarat, making local tribals feeling alienated from the land and other natural resources to which, they think, they should have complete access.
The mining, going on in the region, is being stiffly opposed by AKSM, which called for a protest rally and dharna in Chhotaudepur early this month. The programme had to be called off following Gujarat government declaring entire Chhotaudepur district as "prone to terrorist activities" in order to impose curfew till February 14 (click HERE to read).
Justifying the order, the state administration made it known that the organisation which had proposed the protest, including dharna, AKSM, was being "closely watched" for its "suspicious activities". It went so far as to say that the AKSM was "already running a parellel government", which could not be allowed.
AKSM president Romel Sutariya, a Dalit and a follower of founder of the Indian Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar, told newspersons that the AKSM's stiff opposition – through campaigns and rallies – to sand mining of the riverbeds which has completely shaken the state administration, one reason why allegations of terrorism were being spread.
"It not only tried to say that we were closely associated with terrorist activities; it even arrested one of our most active colleagues, Jayram Gamit, under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act. Gamit was taken Rajkot, which he remains in jail for the one week. All this clearly suggests that the administration is acting in alliance with the sand mafia", he alleged.
"Things have not stopped here", said Sutariya, adding, "Now, the state administration has told us in writing that three talukas – Pavi Jetpur, Sankheda and Bodeli – are no more in the scheduled areas, suggesting that sand mining lease in all three could be given in all the villages in the area without any permission from gram panchayats."
Sutariya said, "The officials concerned do not say when these talukas' tribal areas were taken out of the scheduled list, if it existed, and why, and who gave it the permission for this."
Meanwhile, Sutariya has written a protest letter to the director-general of police, Gujarat, wondering why his organisation was being targeted as if it were carrying on terrorist activities.
"We are being targeted in a very strange way", he said. "Suddenly, a word is being spread that our organisation was in some way was involved in terror attack in Ahmedabad a few years ago. This is strange. We plan to meet Union home minister Rajnath Singh in February third week to apprise him of this. We are a democratic organisation, and do not believe in violence."

Comments

TRENDING

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.