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

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.

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

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. 

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.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

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".