Skip to main content

1.29 lakh forest land claims rejected in Odisha, gram sabhas being disempowered: CSD tells Central tribal team

By Our Representative
Members of the Campaign For Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a forest rights organization, have told Nanda Kumar Sai, chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), Government of India, that, contrary to huge propaganda by the state government, about 1.29 lakh out of a total of 6.05 lakh individual forest rights (IFR) claims have been rejected in Odisha.
Briefing him at the Odisha State Guest House, and giving him details of violations of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996 during his four days visit to Odisha, they particularly raising the issue of "disempowerment of FRA gram sabhas", alleging that in the "whole FRA implementation process, there has been consistent and systematic bypassing of the empowered FRA gram sabhas by Odisha government officials."
Those who accompanied Sai included Anusuiya Uikey, vice- chairperson, and members Hari Krishna Damor and Harshadbhai Chunilal Vasava. They were in Odisha since January 16 to hear allegations of violation of tribal rights in the state. NCST was formed under Article 338-A of the Constitution, which gives special protection to tribal rights across the country.
In its petition submitted to the NCST team, CSD said, while the Government of Odisha claims to be No.1 in issuing highest number of IFR titles in comparison to other states, the the ground realities are different.
Appraising NCST of the "realities" as seen by it, it said, “The state government has issued title papers to the tribals. Yet, though ten years of FRA implementation have passed, it has failed to demarcate most of the forest land issued under IFR and community forest rights (CFR)."
It pointed out that rejection of IFR claims of both scheduled tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs). It is to be noted that as per the latest FRA report of November 30, 2017, 1,28,868 IFR claims (1,23,417 of STs and 25,451 of OTFDs) have been rejected out of a total 6,05,588 (5,75,070 of STs and 30,516 of OTFDs)."
Apprising the NCST of poor recognition of community rights in the state and how obstructions were being created by the state forest department in the way of FRA implementation, CSD said, this was being done by "pushing illegal Van Surakshya Samitis through Ama Jungle Yojana."
Seeking strong directions to the state forest department, CSD urged NCST to tell the state government to issue CFR titles to all villages, to ensure ownership rights over minor forest produce, to recognise the individual forest rights of OTFDs, to "identify all forest and un-surveyed villages falling in the reserve forest and to convert them into revenue villages, to monitor the cancellation of IFR titles in the coal mining area of Hemgiri Block in Sundargarh district, to respect the PESA Act 1996, and to implement it in its true spirit in the Scheduled 5th areas."
CSD wanted the state government to also recognise the habitat rights of all the 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) in the state and implement the Central government’s mnimum support price scheme for minor forest produce "in its true spirit", and provide white paper on the coverage of implementation of FRA in villages of the state.
It also asked NCST to ensure enumeration of the exact landlessness among tribals families of the state and to provide one standard acres of revenue land to each and every tribal family, even endowing community ownership rights over all cashew forest/plantation land.
Thanking NCST intervention and recommendation on the "illegal" National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), especially NCTA's order dated March 28 2017, CSD sought direction to NTCA to immediately withdraw it, asking it to enhance compensation amount from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per family willing to be relocated from the tiger reserves of the country.
CSD at the same time urged NCST to direct the Central government to dismiss the anti-FRA Compensatory Afforestation (CAMPA) Fund Act, 2016 and sought flow of the forest protection and management fund directly to the bank account of the concerned gram sabhas.
Sai assured CSD members of "necessary directions" to both the state and Central governments regarding "violations" of FRA, 2006 and PESA, 1996 in the state. Apart from CSD members, community members from Nayagarh district filed separate petitions before NCST to get rights over cashew lands, which they have been "protecting" and on which they have "depended" for generations.

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.