Skip to main content

Congress, Communists share platform with civil society to oppose Modi govt's effort to "dilute" Forest Right Act

Congress' Jairam Ramesh addressing civil society convention
By Our Representative
In an important move, the apex body of several tribal and forest dwellers’ organizations, Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), in alliance with Congress, Janata Dal (United) and Left parties, has strongly opposed the reported move by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to “allow” mining in the forest areas without taking the consent of the local villagers.
CSD’s national convention, held in Delhi with the participation of over 250 delegates from ten states, saw CPI (M)'s Jitendra Choudhury, Congress' Jairam Ramesh, JD (U)'s Ali Anwar declaring their opposition to what they called “consistent and criminal attack on transparency, accountability and democratic control over natural resources by the NDA government.”
The convention, in which delegates from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh participated, also saw leaders of the Telengana Rashtriya Samiti, Bahujan Samaj Party, CPI and CPI (M-L) Liberation sending in their statement in support of the move to condemn the NDA’s "efforts" to undermine tribal rights.
While Shakar Gopal Krishna, secretary, CSD, spoke about “illegal grabbing of resources and lands” pointing to how the Central and State governments are “failing to recognise people's rights over forest lands”, the opposition parties "sought solidarity" of civil society.
“The Central government is facilitating the illegal takeover of forest land by encouraging diversion of forest land without gram sabha consent, plantations on people's lands, and by funding of parallel institutions intended to displace the powers of the gram sabha”, Krishna said.
If Choudhury targeted the PMO and the Environment Ministry for their “continuous attempt to empower bureaucrats and bypass citizens' rights, even those enshrined in law in the FRA”, Ramesh explained how the Environment Ministry's order of 2009, which spelled out FRA's requirements of gram sabha consent and completion of recognition of rights before diversion of forest land, is “under systematic attack”.
The convection also saw speakers criticising the NDA for coming up with the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA), saying it allows the forest Department to bypass the authorised Gram Sabha under the FRA.
A recent report said, a series of official letters exchanged between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and the Ministry of Environment indicates how the NDA government is in a clear mood to sidestep the provisions of FRA in order to permit private underground mining in forest areas.
The letters, written between June 2015 and December 2015, document how MoTA said that gram sabha’s informed consent was necessary for any diversion of forest land towards industrial projects, while the Ministry of Environment was adamant on diluting it.
“The letters suggest that the PMO views the FRA as a roadblock in its development projects”, the report, quoting from the debate between the two ministries said, adding, “The PMO intervened in the verbal duel and asked the law ministry” for a review. However, the law ministry refused to provide “its comments on the matter despite the MoTA requesting it to clarify its stand many times.”
---
Click HERE for detailed exchange between Union environment ministry and Ministry of tribal affairs on allowing mining in forest areas without tribal gram sabha consent

Comments

Unknown said…
Hi Counterview,

Thanks for your report on the convention we organised. Instead of linking to scribd, can you link to our press note athttps://forestrightsact.com/2016/05/04/cpm-mp-reveals-new-proof-of-nda-govts-attack-on-forest-rights-at-national-convention-against-illegal-takeover-of-forest-land/ ? There is an explanatory note linked from there along with a timeline that will help make sense of the documents.

Many thanks
Campaign for Survival and Dignity
Editor said…
Have taken your link at the end.

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

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. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.