Skip to main content

Most of forest land titles given in Odisha are "not verified on the ground", may lead to serious conflicts in future

By Our Representative
Thousands of adivasis and forest dwellers from across Odisha, mostly from tribal regions, marched in a protest rally on September 28 under the banner of Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, at Lower PMG, Bhubaneswar, raising concern over “anti-tribal” and “anti-forest dweller” laws like Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 (commonly known as CAMPA) and Draft National Forest Policies 2018.
Demanding that they be repealed, Gopinath Majhi, state CSD convener said, “Such policies are the organized conspiracy of the Central government to take away forest rights of the forest dwellers, recognized under historic Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006”., adding, “It is regretted that even after 10 years of FRA implementation in the state, community rights recognition has been very poor due to obstacles and challenges created by the State Forest Department.”
Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Green Nobel prize, addressing the rally, lambasted the Government of Odisha for its “anti-tribal” policies, saying, “While the state government claims to be No 1 in issuing highest individual titles in the country, the reality is that most of these titles are not verified on the ground, which may lead to serious conflicts in future.”
He called upon the state government “to immediately correct them in the presence of members of Gram Sabhas by pursing ground verification.”
Attacking the Modi government, Pradeep Sahu, senior CSD member, said, “All the tribals and forest dwellers of the country are watching the anti-tribal policy of the Central government and they will definitely teach a lesson to it in the next general elections, to be held in 2019.”
The protest rally was followed by a public meeting at Lower PMG presided by Narendra Mohanty, core body members of CSD. Among those who addressed the public meeting included Anna Kujjur, Suresh Panigrahi, Karmi Besra, Balraju Gemel, Trilochan Punji, Radhakanta Sethi, Akhya Pani, Sala Marndi, Lochan Bariha, Bijaya Upaddhyay, Pradipta Nayak, Kamal Saimajhi, Sandeep Pattnayak, Bijay Swain, Biranchi Bariha and others.
At the end of the programme, a of delegation from CSD met and submitted memorandum to the Odisha governor and the chief secretary, demanding that the “anti-environment and anti-people” Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016” should be repealed, as it seeks to reverse the forest rights recognised under FRA, 2006.
The memorandum said, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should withdraw the guidelines (F.No.11-423/2011- FC, of 8 Nov. 2017) for creating “land banks” from revenue and degraded forest land to raise compensatory afforestation, adding, the state government should refrain from bypassing the “authority” of gram sabhas in FRA.
The memorandum further sought withdrawal of “anti-conservation and anti-tribal” draft National Forest Policy, 2018, proposed by MoEFCC, pointing out, “It is anti-FRA and anti-environment, it would destroy India’s forests, which would be handed over to private companies for management.”
Seeking the withdrawal of March 28, 2017 order of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the memorandum alleged, it has been “illegally issued to subvert FRA in the tiger habitat, forcing eviction of adivasis from their ancestral land.”
Asking the governemnt to “stop diversion of rich biodiversity areas for development projects such as mines, industry, dams, etc to avoid destruction of wildlife habitats and increase human-animal conflicts:, the memorandum said, strict penal action should be taken against officials creating “illegal obstruction in exercise of forest dwellers' rights over minor forest produce (MFP).”
Other demands included dissolution of joint forest management committees, mandatory approval of gram sabha for any forestry activities within community forest resource areas of gram sabhas, recognition of individual forest rights of of other traditional forest dwellers (OTFDs), and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

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.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Protests break out as school going children 'branded Naxalites, taken prisoners'

By Sheshu Babu* Conditions in all spheres of life is going from bad to worse. On September 13, Political Prisoners' Day was observed. On that day, Jatin Das, friend of Bhagat Singh and member of the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association, passed away after 63 days of hunger strike. He demanded 'political prisoners' status to those who have been jailed by the state.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.