10 Years of Forest Rights Act

Bhumi Adhikar Andolan

Press Release

New Delhi, December 15, 2015

10 years of the Forest Rights Act: Say no to change in progressive and pro-people’s law

Over 500 people associated with different social movements, democratic struggles and Trade Unions from different states of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi today, on the historic day of enactment of Schedule Tribe and other Forest Dwellers, Recognition of Forest Rights Act in 2006.  We collectively pledge to continue our struggle against the NDA government’s proposed illegal move to dilute the Forest Rights Act bypassing the Parliament of India. A delegation from the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan met with the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram at 12 pm who assured them that he will raise these issues in the Parliament.

The Forest Rights Act 2006 is a landmark in the history of indigenous people in this country whose rights have time and again been neglected by the state. The FRA was enacted to correct this historic injustice meted to our people and restore their rights over their forests, land and water. The Act ensures individual tenure rights over cultivable land and more importantly collective ownership rights over all NTFP and forest based resources to the Gram Sabhas and those duly elected by the community members. However, the government neglected in effectively implementing such a progressive Act meant to bring about a structural change in forest governance.

At this same time, the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization is to be held in Nairobi, Kenya (15-18 December). WTO has repeatedly pushed forward the agenda of the developed nations and has sidelined the real concerns of developing nations like India.

Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan) declared that we all have come together with the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan to denounce the proposal of change of law in FRA. She blamed the government for not implementing them even after the gram sabha passed a resolution for it. The NRI PM of ours has already been declared as anti-farmer and in some time he will be called anti-tribal too. She stated that though the negotiations would have started in Nairobi, we hope the government does not proceed to sell off our lands there. She extended her support to the OccupyUGC movement and also condemned the CBI raid in Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office. She also warned that the country is moving towards a state of emergency.

Roma, General Secretary, All India Union of Forest Working People said the reason of having the Chetavani rally is to remind the government that the people will oppose the governmental move to sell of our lands to the corporates. The government thinks that we will be content with the delcaration of FRA, but we will not end our struggle until it is properly implemented. She stated that the forest people does not accept the 31st December deadline that the government has given and reminded that the BJP remember the Delhi and Bihar election results and the power of the electorate. The withdrawal of the Land Acquisition ordinance is our victory and we will continue our fight for our land and our rights.

Dr. Sunilam, Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti blamed the lack of political will in government for the non-implementation of FRA till date. He brought to notice the Chindwara (MP) region, where the tribal lands went under Adani’s control and the government is siding with the corporates and not the people. The governemnt assumes that they can stop us from democratic struggles by imposing 144. But such restrictions cannot stop us as our fight is for fundamental and legal rights.

Ashok Chowdhary, All India Union of Forest Working People appealed to the media and stated that they need to support and highlight such struggles of people. He declared that water, food and land are some of our main issues, and everything has to be addressed together. He also warned that siding with corporates will only ruin our country.

Krishna Prasad (All India Kisaan Sabha), Jarjum Ete (AIUFWP), P.C Tiwari (Uttarakhand), Dinesh Abrol, Gautam Mody (NTUI), Ghuman Singh, Amulya Naik, Panibhai, Trilojan Punji, Avdesh Kumar, Mata Dayal, Kailash Awasya (NBA), Sucheta De (AISA), Anubhuti (Occupy UGC), Virendra Vidrohi (Rajasthan), Shobha (AIUFWP), Balkeeshwar (AIUFWP), Madhuresh (NAPM), Vijay (NBA), Tarun Joshi (Uttarakhand) and represenatives from All India Krishak Khet Masdoor Sanghatan salso addressed the gathering.

The Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan made the following demands from the elected representative who is entrusted with the protection and safeguard the interests of common working citizens of India:

  •   Implement Forest Rights Act in letter and spirit, ensure collective rights of the communities and stay away from making any changes to the Act
  •   Strengthen Environmental Laws and withdraw Environment Law (Amendment) Bill 2015
  •   Reject the imperialist agenda of WTO and reclaim national policy in the interest of the marginalised sections and not bow       down to the corporate pressure.

    For further details: 9873632226, 9958797409

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Updates on Coal, Energy, IFIs, Land, Water and Forest: 21 July, 2015

A.Coal & Energy

  1. Around 12,000 employees at Neyveli Lignite go on indefinite strike: http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/around-12-000-employees-at-neyveli-lignite-go-on-indefinite-strike-115072100143_1.html
  2. Centre moves SC; adamant not to allot Utkal coal block to JSPL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Centre-moves-SC-adamant-not-to-allot-Utkal-coal-block-to-JSPL/articleshow/48153191.cms?
  3. Centre hits West Bengal with Rs 3,000 cr demand and contempt plea: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Centre-hits-West-Bengal-with-Rs-3000-cr-demand-and-contempt-plea/articleshow/48153199.cms?
  4. Increased coal production helps meet PM’s power promise: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ht-special-increased-coal-production-helps-meet-pm-s-power-promise/article1-1371448.asp
  5. Software solution for power plants to reduce carbon footprint: http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/software-solution-for-power-plants-to-reduce-carbon-footprint_1633325.html
  6. G20 meeting on climate finance to help India clear stance: http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/g20-meeting-on-climate-finance-to-help-india-clear-stance-115072001297_1.html
  7. India’s clean energy targets way ahead of others: UN official:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48147918.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
  8. India-US are stronger when together, collaboration can have big impact on global peace: Envoys: http://www.firstpost.com/world/india-us-are-stronger-when-together-collaboration-can-have-big-impact-on-global-peace-envoys-2353766.html
  9. China to be world’s third largest n-generating country: http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/china-to-be-world-s-third-largest-n-generating-country-115072100151_1.html
  10. Climate scientists say 2015 on track to be warmest year on record: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/21/climate-scientists-say-2015-on-track-to-be-warmest-year-on-record
  11. Biggest Coal Polluters Dominate Emissions: http://insideclimatenews.org/news/16072015/biggest-coal-polluters-dominate-emissions-utilities-obama-epa-clean-power-plan
  12. 12 lakh power employees, engineers threaten to go on strike over electricity amendment bill:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48144987.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
  13. Maha govt plans to retire high cost debt of Rs 54,000 cr of three power companies: http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/maha-govt-plans-to-retire-high-cost-debt-of-rs-54-000-cr-of-three-power-companies-115072000652_1.html
  14. First Pilot Auction to Capture Methane a Success: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/07/17/first-pilot-auction-to-capture-methane-a-success
  15. New clash with Big Coal set as Obama proposes curbs on water pollution: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150716/ARTICLE/150719393#sthash.wDBEbsAu.dpuf

B.IFIs

  1. “BRICS” bank launches in Shanghai, to work with AIIB: http://www.sify.com/finance/fullstory.php?a=phviEndjfecdc&title=%22BRICS%22_bank_launches_in_Shanghai%2C_to_work_with_AIIB
  2. KV Kamath-led BRICS bank is now open for business: http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-kv-kamath-led-brics-bank-is-now-open-for-business-2106562

C.Land, Forest & Water

  1. Odisha in damage control mode: Charting the twists and turns in Posco $12 bn project: http://www.firstpost.com/business/explainer-if-posco-cancels-12-bn-odisha-project-it-will-dent-modis-make-in-india-2348242.html
  2. Phase-I in 2 years: APSEZ: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/phasei-in-2-years-apsez/article7445979.ece
  3. Land acquisition poses hurdle: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/land-acquisition-poses-hurdle/article7445981.ece
  4. Better days for business between India and China?: http://forbesindia.com/article/ckgsb/better-days-for-business-between-india-and-china/40637/1#ixzz3gV8aaFeO
  5. Naidu Takes on Congress Over Land Bill Issue: http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Naidu-Takes-on-Congress-Over-Land-Bill-Issue/2015/07/20/article2930716.ece
  6. PNB’s Rs 9,000-cr bad loan sale stuck due to absence of full time CEO: http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/pnb-s-rs-9-000-cr-bad-loan-sale-stuck-due-to-absence-of-full-time-ceo-115072000879_1.html

Sardar Sarovar affected Adivasis obtain right to reservoir fisheries

Sardar Sarovar affected adivasis obtain right to reservoir fisheries

Struggle by thousands of fish-workers in Narmada valley to continue

14th April, 2015: After 30 years long struggle by the adivasis in the Satpudas, affected by monstrous Sardar Sarovar Dam, 300 young and old adivasis have gained right to fisheries in the reservoir. Following years of pursuit with the authorities, 5 co-operative societies of displaced fish workers in the tehsils of Akkalkuva and Akrani of Nandurbar District have been recognized by the Dept. of Fisheries, Government of Maharashtra.  The societies have been registered as part of Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan, which has been undertaking various re-constructive activities in the valley, including running of life-schools called Jeevanshalas, educating thousands of tribal children.

This is indeed a significant victory for the hilly adivasis who have faced the illegal brunt of submergence, many years ago ! The official recognition of the fishing rights of the displaced tribals is a vindication of their resilient struggle which echoes the slogan: “Jahaan zameen doobi hamaari, paani machli kaise tumhari”. This implies that where the lands of the people have submerged, neither the water nor the fish can belong to the State and the private contractors. The displaced persons have first rights over ‘benefits’ of the Project and this is the letter and spirit of the Rehabilitation Polices and numerous judgements of the Supreme Court as well, which guarantee a ‘better standard of living’, post-displacement.

Notably, the Commissioner, Fisheries, Dy. Commissioner, Jt. Commissioner and Officers at the local level, and officials from the Dept. of Fisheries, Govt. of Maharashtra visited the valley, held many meetings with NNNA in past and assessed the integrity and capacity of adivasis and activists. The fishers-oustees asserted that they have right to share in development benefits in various memorandums to the State and through mass actions-Satyagrahas. Siyaram Padvi and other activists diligently pursued with the concerned authorities, facilitated the paper work and even conducted the General Body meetings.

In a well-attended event by the hilly adivasis and plain area fisher-people from Nimad, M.P., the Dy. Commissioner, Jt. Commissioner and Fisheries officer of Nasik Division, visited the village Manibeli on 11th April, 2015 and distributed 5 kgs of fishing net to each of the members and assured that pick up vans and boats will be delivered to each society soon. Addressing the gathering, Medha Patkar said that harnessing fisheries is both a valuable right and a responsibility and the collective spirit should always be the paramount guiding principle

Three months ago 3 cooperatives got registered and an agreement for fishing for 5 years was signed. Today, 300 adivasis can fish freely and fearlessly and use this aquatic wealth as a source of income. A federal effort will certainly give them higher profit. The young adivasis have been very enthusiastic, with this new enterprise and are determined to carry on fishing as a collective resources-harnessing endeavour. The struggle to obtain rights to the displaced co-operatives of fish workers shall continue in the other villages of Maharashtra as also in the Narmada river–bank villages of Madhya Pradesh, where as well thousands of fisher people in the hills and plains are asserting their traditional rights.

Yogini Khanolkar            Latika Rajput                 Chetan Salve                    Vijay Valvi

Ph: 09420151384