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

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.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.