Skip to main content

Odisha tribals oppose government's "forced" plantation on forest land, "undermining" other forest dwellers' rights

By Our Representative
Hundreds of tribals and forest dwellers under the banner of Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD) marched in Bhubaneswar to protest against the Odisha government “violating” Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, in the state by forcing plantation over occupied forest lands in different districts, even as refusing in large numbers individual and community rights to tribal and non-tribal forest dwellers over forest land.
The protest rally started from Master Canteen and marched towards Lower PMG, where a public meeting was organised. The protesters gave slogans “Gram Sabha Sarkar Zindabad”, “Gosti Adhikar Aamar Dabi”, “Samasta Swikruti Praptya Jungle Jami Chinhata Kara”, “Ana Adibasira Byaktigat Jungle Adhikar Ku Mannyata Dia”, “Jungle Gaaonku Rajaswa Gaaon re Parinata Kara”, and so on.
Gopinath Majhi, CSD’s Odisha convenor, said, “The protest march has been organised to protest against the Forest Department for doing plantation over the occupied forest lands in different districts and for launching anti-FRA Ama Jungle Yojana, Banayana and Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) project. “
He added, “It has also been organised to counter chief minister Navin Patnaik, who is misguiding the forest dwellers by seeking amendment in FRA, failure to recognize community forest fights in the State, and the Odisha government not allowing six Gram Sabhas in Golamunda block of Kalahandi district to do independent business of tendu leaf.”
Pradeep Sahoo, senior CSD member, addressing the rally, said, “While the Odisha government is claiming to be No 1 state in the country, in the last eight years of FRA implementation, the state government has undermined the authority of the Gram Sabha Sarkar, haphazardly issuing individual forest rights (IFR) titles without identifying eligibility.”
Questioning a statement recently made by Patnaik, Sahoo said, “As per the FRA State-Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) report by April 30, 2017, 1,042 IFR claims of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) have been approved at district-level committee (DLC) level, and 628 OTFDs have issued IFR titles, including 555 in Sundargarh, 15 in Angul, 11 in Rayagarda and 47 in Malkangiri districts.”
“If OTFDs of these districts are eligible under FRA, 2006, how OTFDs living in other districts are ineligible?”, he wondered.
  Anna Kujur from Sundargarh criticized the government machinery saying, “Most of the community forest rights (CFR) claims filed by Gram Sabha are pending at the SDLCs for years in all districts, and it is disappointing that the state government is openly violating FRA by introducing anti-FRA schemes and programmes like Aama Jungle Yojana, Banayana and JICA project and promoting anti-FRA vana suraksha samitis (VSS).”
Hiralal Majhi of Nuapada district criticized the state forest department for forcible plantation on cultivable forest land and relocating tribals from sanctuaries, even as condemning the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for its circulars restricting FRA implementation in tiger reserves and demanding its immediate withdrawal.
Meanwhile, CSD has urged the state government to review all the 1,49,150 rejected IFR claims and pending cases, even as raising serious concern over forcing Gram Sabhas to allow divert forest land for non-forestry projects.
In a memorandum, it has asked the Governor of Odisha to direct the Government of India and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for speedy withdrawal of the March 28 NTCA “illegal” order and to take action against the officials responsible allowing eviction from sanctuaries against forest dwellers’ will. It insisted, those who have been evicted be relocated.

Comments

TRENDING

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

'Bird, take me flying with you too!' Being Devangana Kalita

By Ashley Tellis*  I first met Devangana Kalita in a first year English Honours classroom in which I entered to teach Charles Dickens’ Hard Times in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 2008. She was one of the smartest students in the class – Devangana smiled the most and had the brightest twinkle in her eyes of the girls in the class. A middle class girl – Kalita comes from a family in upper Assam, the Kalitas along with the Brahmins dominate Assam (the Bamon-Kolita nexus as it is called) – in an elite all women’s institution known for a feminist, rebellious history. Like all institutions, it was repressive; like all all-women institutions, particularly so. But Miranda House had met its match in Devangana. She organised, protested, all within the democratic tradition resisted. The seeds of Pinjra Tod, the group Devangana was to eventually co-found, and which now finds her jailed for as absurd a reason as inciting a ‘riot’ were already sown in that first year. By the third year, they

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.