Tribals and Forest Dwellers of Odisha Protested against State Apathy in Implementing FRA in the Stat
Bhubaneswar :28 th June 2017: (By Debabrat Mohanty) Hundreds of tribal and Forest dwellers under the banner of Campaign for Survival and Tribals and Forest Dwellers of Odisha Protested against State Apathy in Implementing FRA in the State Dignity(CSD) marched in a protest Rally and protested against the State Govt. for violating Forest Rights Act-2006 in the State. The protest rally was started from Master Canteen and marched towards Lower PMG where a public meeting was organised. The protesters gave slogan i.e. “Gram Sabha Sarkar Zindabad”, “Gosthi Adhikar Aamar Dabi”, “Samasta Swikruti Prapta jungle Jami Chinhata Kara”, “Paramparik Banabasin ra Byaktigat jungle Adhikar ku Mannyata Dia”, “Jungle Gaaon ku Rajaswa Gaaon bhabe Ghosana Kara”. Chasa Jamira brukshya ropan Banda karo,” Kendu Ptra upara Gaaon Sabha ku Malikana Adhikara Dia”……etc. Sharing the objective of the protest March, the leaders of CSD, Odisha said “the protest march is 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 JICA Project. It is organised to counter the Navin Patnaik who is misguiding the forest dwellers of the State by seeking amendment in FRA, it is organised to protest against the non- recognition of Community Forest Rights in the State, it is organised to protest against the Odisha Govt. for not allowing 6 Gram Sabhas in Golamunda block of Kalahandi district to do independent business of the Kendu leaf.” They alleged that while the Govt. of Odisha is claiming to be No.1 State in the country, in the last 8 years of FRA implementation the State Government has undermined the authority of the “Gram Sabha” and have haphazardly issued IFR titles without demarcation and even application and approval of Gramsabhas . Questioning the statement recently made by Navin Patnaik, he said “as per the FRA SLMC Report by 30 th April 2017, 1042 IFR claims of OTFDs have been approved at the DLC levels 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? CSD had made the State bureaucrats responsible for the low recognition of IFR rights to the OTFDs in the State. They also criticized the Govt. Machinery and said that the “most of the CFR claims filed by Gram Sabha are mostly pending at the SDLCs for years together in all districts and not it is disappointing that the State Govt. is openly violating FRA by introducing anti-FRA schemes and programmes like "Aama Jungle Yojana""Banayana&
quot; and JICA project and promoting anti-FRA VSS” Similarly they questioned to the State Forest Department for forcible planation on cultivable forest land and relocating tribals from sanctuaries. It has also condemned the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for its circulars restricting FRA implementation in Tiger Reserves and demanded for its mmediate withdrawal. CSD also urged the Govt. to review all the 1,49,150 rejected IFR claims and pending cases and have emphasized on RoR correction of the forest land recognized under IFR and CFR and for recognition of Habitat rights of 13 PTGs living in the State.CSD has also raised serious concern over forging Gram Sabha resolution by district administration during diversion of forest land for non-forestry projects. Besides, it has reiterated its demand and opposed the anti-people CAMPA Fund Act which is confronting with FRA, 2006. To protect the interest of the tribal living in scheduled 5 th areas, CSD has urged the Govt. of Odisha to implement the Central PESA Act, 1996 and to reform the Panchayatiraj system with the provision of FRA Gram Sabha in all villages.Mr. Gopinath Majhi, the Convener of CSD along with others the leaders of CSD from different regions like Anna Kujur, Pradeep Sahu, Hiralal Majhi, Bijaya Swain, Manohar Chouhan, Narendra Mohanty, Sudhanshu Deo, Dr. Sricharan Behera, Sandeep Pattanayak, Balabhadra Mallick and others were led the rally. A protest meeting was presided by Narendra Mohanty and leaders of various political parties and mass organizations like Rabi Das, Suresh Panigrahi(CPM), Radhakant Sethi, Sk. Abdul Walli, Biswapriya Kanungo, Pradipta Nayak and leaders of CSD like Meghanad Kharsil, Tilottama Bhoi, Lochan Bariha, Giridhari Majhi, Rupadhar Bisoyi were spoke at the protest meeting.