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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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.

Moderator
CSD,Odisha

Only tribal ministry can tweak forest act rules

Law ministry tells Prakash Javadekar only tribal ministry can tweak forest act rules
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47902904.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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

Anti-POSCO Movement in Odisha – Update

Movement update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti. The spokesperson of the movement, Mr. Prashant Paikray writes:

Dear Friends,

It is time to reassure you that our people are continuing their protest unabated against the establishment of POSCO steel plant in the Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha, India. We are determined to continue our fight till POSCO withdraws the project from our area.

On 20th September 2014, villagers of Dhinkia made unanimous resolution in their Palli Sabha (legally empowered village council comprising all the electorates of one or two wards) not to divert their forest land for non- forest purpose. We believe our villagers will approve the same resolution in the forthcoming Gram Sabha which will be held in the month of October, 2014.

When we are facing untold sufferings because of pro-POSCO attitude of the administration and police and we are struggling hard to get out of the situations as major mainstream parties have decided to remain indifferent very few people and civil society groups come and express solidarity with us risking their own life and work. Our people got a shock when the news reached the villages that even the supporters and sympathizers of our struggle have been targeted in some IB report. We believe that this move through the IB is aiming to keep these people and groups away from us so that they make unleash more repression and atrocities on us. We strongly condemn such unethical and undemocratic moves of the state and corporate nexus.

Seven years back under veiled threat and false allurements 54 families from our villages had been taken to a transit camp built by the company. They suffered a lot in the last 7 years and 42 families out of the 54 now came back to their housed in the villages on June 7, 2014. We treat this as an achievement as they have made resolve to strengthen our fight against POSCO. The PPSS members also have helped them rebuild their damaged structures and houses.

The Nuagaon gate crisis has been resolved which was created by company supported goons when they made an attempt to break it resulting in high tension in the area. However, it was resolved by the dynamic fighters of the movement who rebuilt the gate. Presently, the Nuagaon villagers are on a 24 hours duty guarding the check gate against the entry of POSCO and government officials.

By the call of PPSS, villagers of Polang of Gadakuganga Gram panchauayat have reoccupied the land and started the restructuring of their betel vines. In the year 2011, these lands were forcefully occupied by the Government of Odisha and handed over to POSCO. Recently POSCO has filed cases against 32 persons in the local police station mostly belonging to Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang Panchayats. Simultaneously the villagers of Govindpur started the operation to reoccupy the land and restructure the betel vines was forcefully occupied by the Government of Odisha in the year 2013 for the Korean company.

We hope, you are aware of Mr. Juel Oram’s ( Union Minister of Tribal Affairs) opposition to mining of Khandadhar being targeted by POSCO. He said that the Khandadhar should not be handed over to anyone for mining purpose. Local people are opposing the move, and we have to respect their sentiments. Khandadhar is a beautiful hill and several perennial streams are also originating from there. How long his opposition will hold ground in the cabinet no one knows as the Prime Minister Mr. Modi is fully with the corporations and another Modi colleague in the ministry has already said that POSCO is a necessity for Odisha.

On September 13, 2014, PPSS made a representation before the high level committees constituted by the Union of Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate change at the state capital Bhubaneswar. The committee was mandated to review progress of implementation of important acts in the state. PPSS strongly demanded to withdraw all clearances forest, environment and CRZ to POSCO and review all the files. PPSS also urged to send a central level fact- finding team to the area.

Peasants of six blocks of Jagatsinghpur district made a demonstration before the district collector office against the diversion of water from agriculture from Hansua River to POSCO. The four parties – CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc and SP – in a joint statement said they would not allow Posco to use water meant for farmers and used for drinking by the people of undivided Cuttackdistrict.

The MOU between state government and POSCO has lapsed since July 2010. But the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), astate government’s agency have acquired 2,772.05 acres of land and handed over to POSCO. IDCO has invited expression of interest (EoI) to conduct socio-economic survey for rehabilitation of displaced families affected by the POSCO project. It may be recalled here that the CAG report of 2012 has clearly said against IDCO’s middleman ship.

On the occasion of the World Environment Day observed as Save Khandadhar Day, a public meeting was organised by the Khandadhar Suraksha Sangram Samiti (KSSS) where thousands of tribal communities including the particularly vulnerable tribal groups like Paudi Bhuiyans, gathered at Budhabhui village of Sundhargarh district. They vowed, taking water in their hands, to protect Khandadhar and the bounty of nature it endures from all kind of corporate invasion till their last breath. The head of Paudi Bhuiyan , Mr.Bilua Naik administered the oath in this regard. Mr. Abhaya Sahoo, Mr. Prafulla samantaray , Mr. Prashant Paikay and other PPSS leaders addressed the gathering. There is a proposal to organise another public meeting in the hill up area.

It’s learnt that in the month of July/ august 2014, Industrial corporation of Odisha ( IDCO) has filed a notice to the 4 villages of the two panchayat of Luhunidpuda block in Sundhargarh district. The IDCO has noticed for acquiring 100 acres of land for POSCO mining area. Villagers have reacted to this notice and made a resolution in their Gram Sabha against the notice and sent it to the concerned authority.

It is not our area alone. Corporations are eying on land, forest and water in most part of forest rich Odisha. But if we succeed all others will be inspired to carry on the struggle and if we don’t succeed it will certainly demoralize all others. We would expect that despite inconveniences caused to you, you will be extending your support and solidarity with our struggle and do your role at your own level to strengthen our struggle against the Korean steel giant.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

Hoping for support and solidarity

Prashant Paikray, Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

Press Release: Joint Protest in Solidarity with the Niyamgiri Struggle and Against Vedanta PLC

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Protests by various political organisations in Delhi as well as numerous students from Delhi University and JNU came together in solidarity with the incredible resistance of the Dongria Kond against Vedanta, in a joint demonstration outside Odisha Bhavan.

Press Release