Uttarakhand High Court orders to evict Van Gujjars from forest

Press Note:

Press Note

 Strategy  meeting with the Van Gujjar community and other forest dependent communities in the light of the Uttarakhand High Court order to evict them  from Corbett to Rajaji National Parks in Uttrakhand. 

4th Jan 2017, Press Club, Dehradun, Uttrakhand

The Van Gujjar community and other traditional forest dwellers in the adjoining villages / areas of Rajaji and Corbett National parks are seething with anger at this 19 December 2016 order of the Uttarkhand High Court by a division bench of the High Court comprising of Hon’ble Justice Rajiv Sharma and Aalok Singh. What began as a case about forest fires, but the judges took it on to a different trajectory and blamed the Van Gujjars for forest fires, calling them enemies of the forest and described them as a community of “encroachers” who need to be summarily thrown out of the forests of Uttarakhand. This raises serious concern on distributive justice system and what needs to be noted that this order comes in the tenth year of the passing of the Special Act of Parliament – Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of ) Forest Rights Act, which was passed in December 2006. The judgement has completely ignored the existence of such a historic Act and has instead advised the government to work out a new National Forest Policy which will ensure displacement of forest dependent communities – whether tribal or other traditional forest dwellers, from the forest areas. The question which immediately arises is why is the higher judiciary advising the government to effectively “kill” the Forest Rights Act. The order also completely ignores an earlier milestone order of the same High Court – 1720/2008, filed by Van Gujjar Kalyan Samity, which ruled that the State Government has to recognize the rights of the Van Gujjar community residing in/along Rajaji National Park area as per FRA 2006 and grant them ownership rights. This order dated 19 December 2016, does not even mention the FRA 2006 or the 2008 High Court order and in fact this order turns the clock backward and essentially talks about strengthening the Forest Department and leaving the entire forest governance in their hands with all avenues of corporate interest further consolidated, something which the current BJP led NDA government is also actively involved in, as it works full time to dilute this historic act to empower tribal and other forest dependent communities, in the interest of corporates. It completely contradicts the letter and spirit of the 2006 FRA which accepted the “historical injustice” on forest dependent communities – something which was perpetrated by this very colonial institution called forest department.

Uttarakhand has one of the worst track records in the implementation of FRA even after ten years of its enactment. It is ironical that in a State which has more than 65% of its total land area under forest cover only one FRA claim has been settled. About 486 claims of Van Gujjar community of Rajaji National Park are gathering dust at the Sub Divisional

 level committee and the community has no clue as to the status of their claim processing. The Gram Sabha elects a Forest rights Committee, which has constitutional validity, has been completely sidetracked in any attempts to file claims under FRA. The Van Gujjars have been trying continuously to get their rights recongnized by launching many struggles and also  either through dialouge  with political parties or their influential leaders or by fighting legal battles to win orders in their favour.

Neither the earlier BJP government nor the current Congress government in Uttarakhand have shown the “political will” to implement this historic act. The gross negligence by governments’ has resulted in continued and increasing harassment, attacks and extortions by the Forest Department  personnel and police on Van Gujjar and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers of the area. Incidents like the uncalled for ransacking of the houses of Noor Jamal  , Jahur Hassan of Andheri and Binj range in Rajaji National Park  in 2008, the demolition of hundreds of settlements(hutments) in Asarodi RNP in the peak winter months of 2008 and the recent repeated attacks on Mohd. Shafi’s settlement in Corbett National Park Area are just a few examples of the anti-social character of the Forest department. As recently as in November 2016, Mohd. Shafi’s house was demolished without any notice and women badly beaten up  by the Forest Department and their police.

Despite there being a Congress government in Uttarakhand, Van Gujjars and Van Tongiyas numbering in thousands have hardly benefitted from rights assured for them in FRA, 2006. It is the same Congress party, when in power along with Left parties, during UPA 1, took initiative in passing this historic Act in 2006 to restore the rights,  ownership to the tribal and other traditional forest dependent communities. But the State governments of the same party are taking a step motherly approach towards this Act. In Himachal Pradesh also the Congress led government has filed a petition to bypass the FRA. When local social movements protested and brought the matter upto the Congress Vice President r Rahul Gandhi that the State government had to backtrack; but they have not yet withdrawn the petition from the court. The local social movements have been protesting this vociferously.

This current order of the Uttarakhand High Court is a matter of serious concern for all forest dependent communities across the country as this will be a precedent set which could be applied in other National Park, Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves etc. The Van Gujjar and Van Tongiya and other traditional forest dependent communities around Rajaji and Corbett National Parks are  regrouping to build up a strong movement against this illegal, unjust order. Under the joint initiative of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Vanpanchayat Sangharsh Morcha, Van Gujjar Kalyan Samity, Vangram Bhu Adhikar Morcha, Vikalp Social Organisation, Himalayan Niti Abhiyan a meeting is being organized at the Press Club in Dehra Doon on 4 January 2017 to discuss the strategies of countering this nefarious activity of the powers that be and to push for unconditional withdrawal of this unconstitutional order of the Uttarakhand High Court. Three primary demands are :

  1. The State Government of Uttarkhand has to immediately challenge this High Court order by taking appropriate legal steps like a review petition in the High Court.
  2. The State government has to take immediate steps for the effective implementation of FRA in the state and social movements will ensure that the state government is forced to carry out its constitutional responsibility. It must also dialogue with social movements to facilitate effective implementation of FRA in the state.
  3. Social movements will see to it that the issue of Forest Rights becomes an election issue in all State Elections in 2017 and that all political parties take up this issue. Peoples’ movement have already launched their struggle to ensure this happens which will gather momentum in the days to come.

Munnilal  (Vangram bhu adhikar Morcha/AIUFWP)            Tarun Joshi (Vanpanchayat Sangharsh Morcha)                Md. Irshad(Van Gujjar Kalyan Samity)         Mustafa Chopra (Van Gujjar Kalyan Samity )               Guman Singh  (Himalayan Niti Abhiyan)                   Roma  (AIUFWP)    Ashok Chowdhury  (AIUFWP)          Vipin Gairola(Vikalp Social Organisation)                      Avijit Wasi(Vikalp Social Organisation)        

Contact : 9997500638, 99634630520                                                        Date: 4 January 2017.

 प्रेस विज्ञिप्त

उत्तराखंड़ में उच्च न्यायालय द्वारा वनगुजरों एवं अन्य वनाश्रित समुदाय को कार्बेट व राजाजी नेशनल पार्क से बेदखली के सम्बन्ध में जनसंगठनों व् समुदाय की बैठक 

4 जनवरी 2017, देहरादून प्रेस क्लब, इंदिरा मार्किट के पास, देहरादून, उत्तराखंड. 

दिनांक 19/12/2016 को नैनीताल उच्च न्यायालय की न्यायमूर्ति राजीव शर्मा व आलोक सिंह की खंड़पीठ द्वारा कार्बेट व राजाजी नेशनल पार्क से वनगुजरों को वनों से बेदखल करने के आदेश से तमाम वनगुजर एवं वनों में रहने वाले वनाश्रित समुदाय में घोर आक्रोश व्याप्त है। उच्च न्यायालय में वनों में आग को लेकर दायर की गई एक याचिका के तहत तमाम वनगुजर समुदाय को ही वनों का दुश्मन ठहराते हुए उच्च न्यायालय ने जिस तरह से वनगुजरों को अतिक्रमणकारी घोषित किया है व न्यायिक प्रक्रिया पर एक सवालिया निशान लगाती है। गौर तलब है कि यह आदेश एक ऐसे वक्त पर दिया जा रहा है जबकि देश में वनाश्रित समुदाय के साथ हुए ऐतिहासिक अन्याय को समाप्त करने के लिए सन् 2006 में संसद द्वारा ऐतिहासिक विशिष्ट ‘‘ अनुसूचित जनजाति एवं अन्य परम्परागत वनाधिकारों को मान्यता’’ कानून यानि वनाधिकार कानून पारित किया गया है। इस कानून की अनदेखी कर उच्च न्यायालय का यह आदेश जिसमें केन्द्र सरकार से एक नई वननीति को लागू कर वनों में रहने वाले परम्परागत समुदायों को बेदखल करने के सुझाव दिए गए है यह सवाल पैदा करती है कि आखिर उच्च न्यायालय द्वारा संसद के ही अन्य विशिष्ट कानून की पूरी तरह से नज़रअंदाज क्यों किया गया? जबकि इसी न्यायालय द्वारा अनुच्छेद 226 के तहत याचिका संख्या 1720/2008 में वनगुजर कल्याण समिति की एक दायर याचिका पर मा0 उच्च न्यायालय ने राज्य सरकार को राजाजी नेशनल पार्क में वनगुजरों को ‘‘ वनाधिकार कानून 2006’’ के तहत उनके अधिकारों को मान्यता देते हुए उन्हें बसाने की बात कही गई है। लेकिन दिनांक 19/12/2016 के इस आदेश में न ही वनाधिकार कानून का कहीं जिक्र है और न ही उच्च न्यायालय के 2008 के आदेश का जिक्र। इस आदेश के तहत एक बार फिर से वनों को वनविभाग व कम्पनीयों को सौंपने की बात को मजबूत करने की कोशिश की गई है जबकि 2006 में संसद द्वारा वनाश्रित समुदाय के साथ ऐतिहासिक अन्याय की बात को स्वीकारा गया है जो कि उपनिवेशिक वनविभाग द्वारा ही किए गए है।

वैसे भी उत्तराखंड़ एक ऐसा प्रदेश है जहां पर वनाधिकार कानून को लागू होने के दस वर्ष बाद भी अभी तक कानून को प्रभावी ढंग से लागू नहीं किया गया है। प्रदेश के कुल भूभाग के 65ः वनों से आच्छादित होने के बावजूद यह प्रदेश पूरे देश में वनाधिकार कानून को लागू करने में सबसे पीछे है जहां केवल एक ही दावा ही निस्तारित किया गया है। राजाजी पार्क के ही लगभग 486 दावे अभी तक उपखंड़ समिति में लम्बित पड़े हैं व इनकी क्या स्थिति इस के बारे में अभी तक वनगुजरों को किसी भी प्रकार की जानकारी नहीं दी गई है। इस कानून को लागू करने की ग्राम सभा की इकाई ग्राम स्तरीय वनाधिकार समिति जो कि एक संवैधानिक इकाई है, को किसी प्रकार की मान्यता ही नहीं दी गई है। इस कानून को लागू कराने के लिए वनगुजरों तमाम प्रयास किए गए व किए जा रहे हैं, चाहे वो राजनैतिक रूप से सरकारों पर दबाव डालना हो या फिर न्यायालय में दौड़ लगा कर अपने पक्ष में आदेश लेना। लेकिन उत्तराखंड में  न ही पूर्व में भाजपा सरकार और न ही मौजूदा कांग्रेस सरकार इस कानून को लागू कराने में राजनैतिक इच्छा दिखा रही है। वहीं केन्द्र की भाजपा सरकार द्वारा भी इस कानून की पूरी तरह से उपेक्षा की जा रही है।  कानून की सरकार की इस उपेक्षा की भारी कीमत वनगुजरों को उठानी पड़ रही है, आए दिन उनपर वनविभाग व पुलिस द्वारा उत्पीड़न किया जाता है। राजाजी के अंधेरी व बींज के जहुर हसन और नूरआलम के डेरों को बेरहमी से 2008 में उजाड़ना व लूटपाट करना, आसारोड़ी के ही सैंकड़ों डेरों को 2008 ही में सर्दी के मौसम में बेदखल करना और वहीं कार्बेट नेशनल पार्क के मो0 शफी के डेरे को कई बार उजाड़ना शामिल है। अभी नवम्बर माह में ही मो0 शफी के डेरे पर वनविभाग एवं पुलिस द्वारा डेरे पर उपस्थित महिलाओं पर हमला किया गया व उनका डेरा बिना किसी नोटिस के उजाड़ा गया।

प्रदेश में काग्रेस की सरकार होने के बावजूद भी वनाधिकार कानून और वनगुजरों एवं सैंकड़ों वनटांगीया, गोठ व खत्ते गांव जो वनग्राम की श्रेणी में आते हैं वह इस कानून के लाभ से वंचित हैं। गौर तलब है कि कांगेस सरकार द्वारा ही सन् 2006 में इस कानून को वनाश्रित समुदाय को उनके वनाधिकारों और भौमिक अधिकारों को मान्यता देने के लिए यह कानून पारित किया गया था। लेकिन इसी राजनैतिक दल की सरकारें राज्यों में इस कानून के प्रति सौतेला व्यवहार कर रही है। जैसे कि फिलहाल हिमाचल प्रदेश में भी सरकार द्वारा वनाधिकार कानून को निरस्त करने की एक याचिका दायर की गई। जब वहां के जनसंगठनों द्वारा जनांदोलन किया गया व कांग्रेस पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व राहुल गांधी तक यह बात पहुंचायी तब हिमाचल प्रदेश की सरकार को पीछे हटना पड़ा। लेकिन उक्त याचिका अभी भी न्यायालय में वापिस नहीं ली गई है। इस संदर्भ में वहां पर भी जनाआदंोलन ज़ारी है। उत्तराखंड़ में उच्च न्यायालय का यह रूख वनाश्रित समुदाय के लिए एक विशेष खतरा है जिसका पूर ज़ोर रूप से विरोध करने के लिए वनगुजर, वनग्राम समुदाय एवं अन्य वनाश्रित समुदाय व्यापक रूप से गोलबंद हो रहे हैं।

4 जनवरी 2017 को देहरादून के प्रेस कल्ब में अखिल भारतीय वनजन श्रमजीवी यूनियन, वनपंचायत संघर्ष मोर्चा, वनगुजर कल्याण समिति, विकल्प सामाजिक संगठन व हिमालयन नीति अभियान के संयुक्त नेतृत्व में इस उच्च न्यायालय आदेश के विरोध में आगामी रणनीति को तय करने के लिए विशाल सभा बुलाई गई है। इस बैठक में संयुक्त रूप से राजनैतिक एवं कानूनी संघर्ष की रणनीति बनाई जाएगी। जो कि निम्नलिखित मुददों पर आधारित होगी –

  1. उच्च न्यायालय के 2016 के आदेश पर सरकार द्वारा उच्च न्यायालय में रिवयू याचिका दायर की जाए व इस आदेश की वापसी सुनिश्चित कराई जाए।
  1. सरकार को वनाधिकार कानून को प्रभावी ढंग से लागू करने के लिए जनसंगठनों एवं जनांदोलनों द्वारा बाध्य किया जाएगा ताकि वनाश्रित समुदाय के मानवाधिकार सुरक्षित रहें व वे सम्मानजनक नागरिक की तरह अपना जीवन व्यतीत करें। सरकार जनसंगठनों की बैठक करें व इस कानून को लागू करने के लिए कारगर कदम उठाए।
  1. 2017 के विधान सभा चुनाव में सभी राजनैतिक दलों द्वारा वनाधिकार के मुददे को प्रमुख मुददा बनाया जाए चूंकि उत्तराखंड़ की सामाजिक व आर्थिक जीवन शैली वनों पर आधारित है। जनसंगठनों द्वारा वनाधिकार के मुददे को चुनावी अभियान का मुददा बनाया जाएगा। इस संदर्भ में जनांदोलन की शुरूआत हो चुकी है।

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Updates on Coal, Energy, Land, Water and Forest: 23 May 2016

A Coal & Energy

Adani Power shuts 2,640-mw units at Tiroda plant in Maharashtra: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-05-16/news/73126367_1_acute-water-shortage-4-units-adani-power-ltd
सासन प्रोजेक्ट को चीन और अमेरिकी बैंकों से फायनेंस की इजाजत नहीं http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=1000684&boxid=5173711763&view=text&editioncode=180&pagedate=05/17/2016&pageno=1&map=map&ch=mpcg
3 engineers killed, 24 others injured in Moser Bear’s boiler blast: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/3-engineers-killed-24-others-injured-in-Moser-Bears-boiler-blast/articleshow/52303879.cms
Another Village In Odisha Rejects Mining: http://www.countercurrents.org/pr040516.htm
What Paris agreement on climate change means for India: http://www.dailyo.in/politics/cop-21-paris-agreement-unfcc-climate-change-sustainable-living-kyoto-protocol/story/1/10749.html
Arunachal’s unfinished Lower Subansiri dam could be tomb for India’s giant hydropower projects: http://scroll.in/article/718809/arunachals-unfinished-lower-subansiri-dam-could-be-tomb-for-indias-giant-hydropower-projects
हिंडाल्को कम्पनी को जमीन देने के लिए चलाया आदिवासी बस्ती पर बुलडोज़र : डॉ लखन सिंह: http://www.januday.com/NewsDetail.aspx?Article=7349
Electric Companies Duping Indian Consumers: DRI Investigates a 29,000 Crores Rupees Scam: https://sabrangindia.in/article/electric-companies-duping-indian-consumers-dri-investigates-29000-crores-rupees-scam
Panel recommends forest clearance to SCCL’s coal project in AP: http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/panel-recommends-forest-clearance-to-sccl-s-coal-project-in-ap-116052200102_1.html

B.IFIs

China Launches Asia Investment Bank with 2 Silk Road Projects: http://www.voanews.com/content/china-launches-asia-investment-bank-with-two-silk-road-projects-/3338589.html
AIIB looks for Russia financing: http://en.prothom-alo.com/economy/news/105207/AIIB-looks-for-Russia-financing
China-led AIIB to co-finance first Indonesia project : http://www.gulf-times.com/story/494013/China-led-AIIB-to-co-finance-first-Indonesia-proje
Asian Development Bank (ADB) that will act as the lead financier for the project in Pakistan M4 highway: http://pakobserver.net/2016/05/22/asian-bank-to-finance-projects/
India a beacon for foreign investment: Jaitley: http://www.domain-b.com/economy/general/20160521_jaitley.html#sthash.BZphxIjt.N739mjbz.dpuf
US Senate Nominates Indian-American Swati Dandekar As Asian Development Bank Director: http://www.theindianpanorama.news/indians-abroad/us-senate-nominates-indian-american-swati-dandekar-asian-development-bank-director/
5 Major Banks Rigged US$9trn Bond Market: Lawsuit: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/5-Major-Banks-Rigged-US9trn-Bond-Market-Lawsuit-20160520-0004.html
Putin hails AIIB as complement to int’l financial structure: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-05/19/c_135369920.htm
PNB tops list of worst losses in Indian banking history: http://www.livemint.com/Industry/nyp8yAz9fEXYdkcstG4CEP/PNB-tops-list-of-worst-losses-in-Indian-banking-history.html?%3F
How to kill a bank in India: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/EZfzm1RzenHu7xURxgJDoM/How-to-kill-a-bank-in-India.html
World Bank offers $625m loan to boost India’s rooftop solar PV capacity: http://solar.energy-business-review.com/news/world-bank-offers-625m-loan-to-boost-indias-rooftop-solar-pv-capacity-160516-4893781
India will need to find new mechanism for financing smart city projects: http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20160519/2864265.htm

People’s Movements in India & Bangladesh Join Hands to Save Sunderbans:

PRESS RELEASE : March 21, 2016

People’s Movements in India and Bangladesh Join Hands to Save Sunderbans:

Support Extended to the Struggle against Rampal Coal Power Project in Bangladesh

New Delhi: In yet another major initiative strengthening people-to-people cooperation between South Asian nations, people’s movements in India joined hands with their Bangladesh counterparts to save the Sunderbans. This was declared in Delhi by a delegation of 11 senior activists who took part in the Long March organized by National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and started from Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka on March 10 to Kathakhali Morh, Bagherhat district, Bangladesh – a distance of 250 kms from the capital.

Ashok Choudhury, and Roma Malik of All India Union of Forest Working People, Soumya Dutta, of Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha and India Climate Justice, Magline Peter of National Fishworkers Forum, Bharat Patel of Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan, Gujarat, representatives of Delhi Solidarity Group and other environmentalists were part of the Indian delegation.

The Rampal power plant is being built through a joint-venture by Bangladesh’s Power Development Board and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), with machinery coming from India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), finance coming from Indian ExIm Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers (India) contracted for Long term coal sourcing, maritime transportation, transshipment, inland water transport and logistics.

“People’s movements in India resonate with the key message of the Bangladesh movements – that while there are alternatives for sources of energy, there is no alternative to the Sundarbans. Sundarbans is a critical life-support ecosystem to India as much as it is for Bangladesh. Protecting it is the responsibility of people of both countries”, Ashok Choudhury, General Secretary, All India Union of Forest Working People said.

“If Rampal and the adjacent Orion projects are allowed to come up, everyday, lakhs of litres of hot water would be pumped out from these projects to the Passur river along with the release of millions of tons of toxic coal ash in the surrounding air, water and soil every year., severely affecting , vegetation, fish and other aquatic wealth, and reducing the oxygen level in the river drastically, devastating farming and fishing livelihoods ”, Soumya Dutta, Convener of the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha said.

“Amongst the fishworkers, women are the worst affected,” Magline Peter of National Fishworkers Forum said. “While they are already burdened with running the household, Rampal project makes it further difficult. The project would be detrimental to the food security of the region,” she added.

The delegation, after talking to different political and civil society representatives, expressed concern about the increasing anti-India sentiment in Bangladesh. “At a time when it is important to strengthen relationship with neighboring countries, it is unfortunate that India is promoting this project which is alienating India further. It is important that a Parliamentary delegation visit Bangladesh and discuss the implications of the project with different stakeholders and take a pro-people position on the project to restore the faith and confidence on India,” Roma, deputy General Secretary of All India Union of Forest Working People said.

The delegation expressed grave concern over the news about the coal-laden vessel sinking in Shela river in the Sundarbans two days ago. One may recall that in December 2014 a oil tanker sank in Sundarbans causing immense damage to the river and reverie ecology. In last year May, a fertilizer vessel sank in the vicinity. The delegation warned that with coal projects coming up in and near Sundarbans, with a requirement of over 4 million tons of imported coal each year for Rampal project alone, grave accidents are just round the corner and the governments should take cognizance of it and should restrain from exposing Sundarbans from more danger.

Recalling his experience from two mega coal projects in Kutch – Tata Mundra and Adani projects – Dr. Bharat Patel of Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan warned that projects like Rampal are promoted in the name of poor and development of the country. “However, we have experienced that such projects endanger the livelihood of the poor and push them to destitution, and only a handful of rich corporations profit from it,” he said.

The delegation reiterated their support to the movement to protect the Sundarbans and called upon the Governments of India and Bangladesh to cancel the project and seek decentralized and sustainable solutions to address the energy issues. They warned that in the coming days a more coordinated opposition will be build on both sides of the boarder, bringing together likeminded people’s movements, political parties and intellectuals, to protect Sundarbans.

 

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

FRA Implementation in Nuapada district :An Overview

FRA Implementation in Nuapada district :An Overview

In the district the total forest land constitutes 49.45 % of the total geographical area. While most of the forest land around 99.98 is revenue forest land (including the 2.89 per cent DLC land) and only 0.02 per cent is reserve forest. There are 658 revenue village in the district. Besides, based on the census report 2001, the Govt. of Odisha has identified 7 more forest villages/un surveyed villages in the district. Besides there While the scheduled caste population constitutes 13.46% of the total population the scheduled tribe constitutes 33.80%.

It is to be noted that as per FRA Status report produced by the State Level Monitoring(SLMC) Govt. of Odisha by 31st May 2015, only 23257 Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims have been filed at the Gram Sabha level and 6040 IFR titles have been issued to the tribals of the district over 16913.32  acres of forest land including 531 titles over 1946 acres of forest land issued to the Chikutia Bhunjia PTG/PVTG.

It is also reported that, so far only 35 community forest rights (CFR) Claims have been filed at the Gram Sabha level and by the time only 18 CFR titles have been issued over 1900 acres of land .

Even the SLMC in last March,2015 had reported that around 609 CFR claims (465 in B  form and 144 claims in C form) have been filed at the Gram Sabha and only 18 CFR titles have issued in the district which is in fact a faulty report.

Besides, out of the total(6040) IFR issued extension of different developmental programmes have been done over 3359 IFR titles holder including 1482 under IAY, 45under Mo Kudia, 157 under Mo Pokhari, 1675 under MGNREGS and 17 under National Horticulture  Mission Schemes.

One of the major issues identified in the district have been non–recognition of IFR and CFR rights over the forest land “Gramya Jungle Joyga Kissam”. This issue was raised by the Jami Jungle Mukti Andolan before the administration including the Boar of Revenue and the tribal department, Govt. of Odisha. However,  despite the provision under FRA and recommendation of the Board of Revenue, unfortunately the Tribal Development Department has issued a clarification on dated 31st Dec 2011 that the “Gramya Jungle Joyga Kissam” is not forest land and Fra titles cannot be issued over these land(Also find the attached circular). Of course, many of the IFR titles already issued in the district are over “Gramya Jungle Joyga Kissam”.

Also find some photographs of the protest Rally.

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non-registered Sangathana , Nuapada affiliated to the Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD) Odisha  after the protest Rally on 14th August , 2015.

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CSD,Odisha