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

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

US publication blames Gates Foundation for 'accelerating' India's healthcare crisis

By Rajiv Shah A new book, published by the New York-based Monthly Press Review (MPR), has blamed Microsoft founder Bill Gates for “crowning” the crisis allegedly engulfing India’s health sector, stating, the top American billionaire’s foundation of late has acquired “extraordinary influence" over India’s public health governance,  giving a fillip to a policy that deprives access of public healthcare facilities for majority of the country’s population.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

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.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".