Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, calls upon the Modi government at the Centre to look into the tribal rights issues in the state:
Raising serious concern over the non-implementation of the Central PESA Act, 1996 by the State Government, CSD has urged the Modi Govt. to review the Status of compliance made by the Odisha Govt. to the Central PESA Act. In its Press Release CSD says that while many State Govts. i. e. Maharashtra, Chhatigarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have already complied the Central PESA Act, 1996, despite of ruling for consecutive three terms, the BJD Govt. in has failed to comply the provisions of Central PESA, Act in the State. It is to be noted that there are 62 tribes in the State including 13 PVTGs and the scheduled 5th area constitutes around 44 per cent of the total State Geographical area. CSD has call upon the Modi Govt. to suggest the Odisha Govt. to evade the existing Panchayatiraj System where there is no independent recognition of a village, no power to the local community in which decentralization of democracy has become farce, to adopt the Forest Rights Gram Sabha in all the villages empowering the local people at the grassroots.
Appraising over the various FRA implementation issues in the State, CSD has urged the BJP Govt. at the Centre to monitor the FRA implementation in the State strictly. Highlighting the various FRA implementation issues in the State, CSD has pointed out that the while the Govt. of Odisha is claiming to be No.1 State across the country in issuing highest number of Individual Forest Rights(IFR) titles but in fact, Govt. of Odisha has used the historic recognition Act as land distribution scheme and using it for vote bank and in 80 per cent of cases IFR titles have been issued without demarcation, despite approval of the gram sabha around two lakhs IFR claims have been rejected by bureaucrats ruling Govt., in many district Other Traditional Forest Dwellers(OTFDs) have been denied to file their IFR claims at the gram sabha level, despite provision and guideline issued by Central Govt., the Govt. of Odisha has totally failed to convert a single of the thousands of forest/ un-surveyed villages into revenue village in the State.
Criticizing the State Forest Department, CSD has said “while in many States like Maharashtra, Gujrat etc., recognition of community rights over forest has been remarkable, the Govt. of Odisha is lagging far behind in recognition of Community Forest rights in the State and all this is because of the callousness of the State Forest Department. CSD has also claims that whatever community rights said to have recognized in the State are not as per the provision under FRA(Section 3(1). ”
CSD has also reiterated its demand to withdraw the forest officials sitting in the FRA Desk in the State. CSD has also urged the Modi Govt. to halt anti –FRA “Ama Jungle Yojana” in the State which empowers the forest bureaucracy and call upon to dissolve Vana Surakhya samiti(VSS) formed by the Forest Department at the village level in the State which is anti-FRA and illegal.
Appraising over the status of recognition of ownership rights over minor forest produce which is considered to be the backbone livelihood of the tribal, CSD said that there are more than 9 lakh tribal and dalit families in Odisha engaged kendu leave plucking and are the legal owner of the Kendu leaf after FRA enactment. But it is unfortunate that the Govt. of Odisha continue to collect royalty on Kendu leaf and eating away the hard earned money of the poor tribals and dalits of the State.
CSD has also urged the Modi Government to ensure Gram Sabha authority in the CAMPA Fund rules to be framed and asked the Central Govt. to respect the decision of Gram Sabha having quorum of more than 50 per cent of its members and to create village level bank account and to directly deposit the CAMPA fund money or any forest development fund in the Gram Sabha Bank Account.
CSD has also condemned the recent Order issued on March 27th by MoEF (National Tiger Conservation Authority) which debars FRA implementation in Critical Tiger Reserve. “This is an illegality and an atrocity against lakhs of tribals and forest dwellers and should be withdrawn immediately” has urged the PM to take punitive action against the officials responsible.”
It is to be noted that CSD has launched a campaign against the NTCA Order across the State and sending gram sabha resolution to the PMO office urging the Prime Minister Narebdra Modi to withdraw the anti-Tribal and anti-FRA NTCA Order.