Skip to main content

Odisha govt "obstructing" tribal gram sabhas seeking to do business in kendu leaf: Letter to chief minister

By Our Representative
Well-known civil rights organization, National Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), has urged Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of Odisha, to allow six tribal gram sabhas to resume their kendu leaves business. In a letter, CSD has blamed the state forest officials for "violating" Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 by "interfering" the gram sabhas seeking to trade in the leaves.
Six villages, Kalipur, Kanakpur, Kasturapadar, Jamjharan, Jamgudabahali and Khasiguda, all of the Golamunda block of Kalahandi district, started kendu leaf collection in the first week of May 2017 and contacted a kendu leaf businessman from Maharashtra and even entered into business contract.
But, according to CSD, forest officials in the district "obstructed their business activities and refused to allow them to sell their produce saying kendu trade is nationalised in the state." At the same time, it added, "Forest department officials also threatened the Maharashtra businessman who had done business contract with the six gram sabhas."
As a result, said CSD, the businessman left the leaves the tribals had collected and the villagers are now running pillar to post to dispose of the collected leaves.
Pointing out that the villagers have already approached senior government officials, including the district collector, the forest secretary, and the SC-ST minister, the letter said, they have "failed" to change things. Calling the state officials' attitude "criminal", it said, they should be tried under the FRA and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.”
Referring to the July 3 letter sent by Jual Oram, Union minister for tribal affairs, to Patnaik to "resolve the issue of six villages", CSD said, despite the letter, "till date forest officials of the area continue to maintain their stand and have not allowed the six gram sabhas to resumes the business."
The CSD further said, the forest department of Odisha has also ignored the July 22 letter vide No 13125, which mentions violation of FRA, 2006 by a Kalahandi forest official who has been "obstructing" kendu leave business being carried out by the six gram sabhas.
"In light of the requirements of law in this situation, and given your own stated position on the issue, we call upon your government to immediately direct the forest department to halt its illegal obstruction of the rights of the six villages. If this is not done soon, these villages will lose lakhs of rupees worth of revenue this year", the letter warned.
A national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers' organisations from 11 states, CSD has been closely involved in the struggle for the enactment and enforcement of the FRA, 2006.
Calling the forest officials ways "a matter of grave concern", the letter said, the villagers have been "fighting for the right to freely sell the kendu leaves that they collect" for quite time, asking Patnaik to ensure that the forest department halts "its illegal obstruction of the rights of the six villages".

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

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).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

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.

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.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”