Skip to main content

CAMPA: Government of India’s pro-corporate step at the cost of the common people, especially tribals

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
With the passing of the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority) bill in the Rajya Sabha on July 28, the BJP government seems to have done away with the basic rights of the tribal people to forest produce who live near and in the forests.
This is one more pro-corporate step of the government at the cost of common people, especially many tribal groups who are socially and economically deprived.
A last minute bid by tribal groups who sent a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to stop the passing of the bill has failed. It spelt out: “We the Scheduled Tribes/Indigenous Peoples /Adibasis of India feel, it is anti-Adibasi and anti-Constitutional and we oppose the Parliamentarians move in diluting the rights of Gram Sabha in FRA 2006 in a very cunning manner,” the petition said.
It further added that such proposals are violating not just the domestic laws but also India’s international commitments.
There are several issues. Where will the land come for afforestation when “development” takes away large tracts of forest land? It will not be possible to provide contiguous areas. Already in Orissa, huge tracts of forest land are being used for Teak wood plantations replacing the traditional produce of millets, tuber, fruits etc., which indigenous tribal people were engaged in. Besides, they also had access to kendu, honey, medicines and many herbs from the forests besides fuel wood. On top of all that, they worshipped the forest gods and that will now be restricted.
In many parts of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, forest lands are being used to set up factories and for mining industries. Jhinkpani in Jharkhand, Barbil in Orissa, Gua, Chiria, Kiriburu and Noamundi in Bihar and several such places are notorious for spreading pollution.
The Saranda forest zone is severely affected. Already nearly 50 per cent of forest cover is under mining lease. Industrial activities without adequate nature protection measures in these areas have already inflicted considerable damage on environment.
This situation is prevalent practically all over the country, not only in mining and factory-based industrial areas.
One really wonders why even non-NDA parties also allowed the bill to be passed when they profess so vociferously about the uplift of poor and the deprived.
FRA or the Forest Rights Act ensures the rights of these people to forest produce that sustains their livelihood. These rights were ensured by the FRA and overseen by gram sabhas which will have no role anymore and the whole thing including funds and the process of afforestation will be handled by the bureaucrats.
Not only that. Those forest lands vested in gram sabhas will now be out of their control. They will also not get any compensation for these lands. In a country where bureaucrat-capitalist nexus is well entrenched, one wonders how will bureaucrats ensure justice to the tribals.
---
*Veteran journalist

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.

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.”

"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.

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).

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”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.