Skip to main content

Tribal land rights implementation poorest in Gujarat's backward Dahod district: Representation to chief minister

Tribals protest in Ahmedabad for land rights
By Our Representative
A new compilation on providing cultivation rights to tribal farmers has revealed that in the backward Dahod district of Gujarat, out of a total of 20,150 claims submitted to the local forest rights committee, formed by the state government to verify and hand over land titles, just about 3,162 farmers -- just 15.68% as against the state average of 40% -- have been handed over cultivation rights over the last one decade.
A representation sent to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, with complete details of tribals who have failed to get cultivation rights, along with data from across Gujarat’s eastern tribal belt, says that a major reason why Dahod has suffered more than other districts is, officials here do not apply provisions of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
The district officials disregard the provision that the tribal applicant should offer two records along with an elderly person’s statement, apart from visual evidence before the village council, as the valid documents for the right to cultivate, says the representation. Instead, it adds, they take into consideration the opinion and receipts of the forest department.
Worse, the representation says, the forest department has been forcibly carrying out plantation on the land claimed by the tribal cultivators. And when the cultivators go to the police to complain, nothing happens. “Police officials intimidate the cultivators, asking them why they are cultivate forest land”, the representation by Ekalavya Sangathan, operating in the tribal-dominated districts of eastern Gujarat, says.
Ekalavya had planned a rally in Ahmedabad with the participation of around 4,000 tribals to protest against "poor" implementation of the FRA, 2006, in Gujarat. While it could not hold its rally, it was allowed a mass gathering at Sardar Baugh in the city after the representation was handed over to the district collector, Ahmedabad.
Things are bad in other parts of Gujarat as well, says the representation. In Khedbrahma and Vijaynagar talukas of Sabarkantha district, forest officials forcibly carry out plantation on the forest land, on which the crops are ready to be harvested. They even take the help of the state reserve police (SRP) forces and to intimidate the tribals.
In Sabarkantha’s Poshina taluka, the representation adds, forest officials forcibly carries out plantation on the land which has been given cultivation rights. The does not accept complaint against the forest department in Kheroj and Poshina areas.
In fact, says the representation, at several places in Sabarkantha’s Poshina and Vijaynagar talukas, there has not been any verification of tribal land. In such cases the claimed land should be verified immediately, yet the approved claim application cultivation rights document does not have any or seal of the concerned authority.
On December 31, 2013, the representation says, the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi handed over land entitlement to 2,596 tribal farmers out of 9,939 who were identified as valid claimants in Panchmahal district. The rest of 7,343 farmers have still not received entitlement till date.
Tribals show documents showing they have right to land
At some spots, the representation says, famers have the rightful possession of land, and have built their house over it. However, when farmers cultivate the land, the forest department expects them to pay fine.
Things are also bad in non-tribal talukas of some of North Gujarat districts. Thus, in Modasa, Himatnagar, Idar, Vadali and Malpur, FRA, 2006 has still not been implemented. Here, even forest rights committees have not been formed, hence claims have not been taken up for examination.
Then, in Mahisagar district’s Virpur and Balasinor talukas, says the representation, no FRCs have been formed, hence the claims of the applicants have not been submitted. In Lunavada and Khanpur talukas, application forms have been filled but nobody knows what has happened thereafter.
Blaming government policy of making non-cultivators as presidents and vice-presidents of forest rights committees for such state of affairs, the representation, says, such committees should be reviewed and dissolved, and new committee should be formed.
The policy has led to a situation where other backward class forest dwelling farmers’ claims have been rejected, even though they are equal claimants of forest land under FRA, 2006. Such claims should be approved and entitlement should be given, the representation says.

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.