Download Report- Critical Observations on the Implementation FRA #Mustshare


The very enactment of the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006 by the Indian Parliament in the country
after the 60 years of India’s independence is a landmark constitutional reform. Campaign for
Survival and Dignity (CSD) played a vital role in mobilizing the tribals, forest dwellers and people’s
representatives at different levels in whole country and successfully got this Act passed by the Indian
Parliament which admitted for the first time in the history of India to have done historical injustice to
the tribals and forest dwellers before and after India’s independence. We believe that FRA aims at
reddressal of a numbers of problems arose due to the draconian Acts like Indian Forest Act, 1927 and
Land Acquisition Land, 1894 which were used to evict the tribals and the forest dwellers from their
homes and shelters like goats and cattle. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 not only revived the tribal self
governance regime in scheduled 5th area enforced by the Central PESA Act, 1996 but also it extended
the provisions of the PESA even to the non scheduled area(whole State) empowering the Village
Council, the Gram Sabha to decide over their fate and fate of their resources which has been upheld
by the Supreme Court, the highest Court of the nation in the Niyamgiri case on 18th April 2013.
All the State’s Apparatus has now to accept that “Gram Sabha” is the lowest unit or form of
“Government” having its own exclusive legislative, executive and judicial power and authority over
its stipulated areas like any other forms of Government at Block, District, State and Central level.
The FRA has also raised fundamental questions over the on-going Panchyatitaj systems;
representative system runs in different State and aims at implementation of direct democracy
sidelining the over empowered bureaucracy. Forest Rights Act, 2006 has also challenged the age-old
State hegemony over forest protection and conservation in the name of “scientific forest
management” and has strengthen the conservation regime handing it to the community people who
live and die in the forest.
As per the India State of Forest Report, 2011, the recorded forest area of the country is
769,538 km2, accounting for 23.41 % of the Country’s geographical area. The State of Odisha
constituting only 4.73 of India’s geographical area have around 7% of the total forest area of the
country. While the reserved forest is spread over 26329 km2 constituting 45.28%, Protected forest
spread over 15525 km2 constituting 26.70% and the Un-classed forest is found in 16282 km2
constituting 28% of the total forest area which is 37% of the total geographical area of the State.
However, as per the Odisha Government Report there is 15022058.35 acres constituting 39.16 % of
forest land in the State to its total geographical areas. It is reported that out of this 39.16 % of forest
land, the State Forest Department have 43.32 % of forest land including the reserved forest in the
State while around 52.26 % are Revenue forest land including the protected forest and rest 4.40 %
District Level Committee (DLC) forest land, the revenue land mentioned as DLC land in 1997 as per
the direction of the Supreme Court in connection with WP(c) No. 202/1995.
There is in total 8.21% of tribal population in India. Likewise the tribal population in Odisha
constitutes 22.13 % as per the 2001 census report mostly residing in the rural area. Also Govt. of
Odisha while targeting the implementation of the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the State
referred the State of Forest Report, 1999 which stated that out of 46,989 villages in the State, there
are 29,302 villages located in close vicinity of forest which are to be covered under FRA. The GoO
also has estimated that out of 6420514 rural households, there are 1762342 ST households
constituting 27.44 % in the State. Besides, there is large number of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
in the State depending on the forest for their subsistence needs to be covered under FRA. Besides,
Odisha has been the hub for the experiment of all the sensational issues in the country and always
been in the limelight of media may be for its ample deposit of mineral and natural resources or for
displacement, poverty, protest etc.

We believe that the effective implementation of this historic Act in its true letter and spirit would
definitely change the scenario of Odisha and resolve most of the socio-economic problems being
faced by the State including the problems of Outlawed Naxal. There has been much progress of
settlement of Individual forest rights of tribals and convergence of developmental progrmmes in the
State from last 2008 in comparison to the Other States of the country. However, still the State has
miles to go before reaching to the destination. After the enactment and implementation of the forest
rights act in the State, Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha is engaged in making forest
dwellers aware on FRA and actively watching the development and progress of FRA implementation
in the state. And whenever found loopholes in FRA implementation, we have appraised the GoO
through discussion and even through Protest Rally and Dharana. Besides, in many districts, the
different community based and civil society organizations affiliated to the CSD, Odisha have played
a vital role in facilitating forest dwellers in filing forest rights claim. Whenever and wherever we
found rights violations of FRA, we have rush the place, met with our aggrieved people and have tried
to resolve them discussing with the concerned SDLCs/DLCs. We also documented the violations
stories and have shared them with the SLMC and also with the media. We have had special Interface
and discussion with the SLMC on the various FRA implementation issues on 28th Feb 2009, 9th Jan,
2010 and 13th Jan, 2011 etc.
We appreciate Government of Odisha, especially the SCST Department for sincerely
bringing monthly FRA Progress and Status Report which is again unique in comparison to other
State of the country. We also sincerely appreciate the Department for bringing a number of positive
circulars, clarification, guidelines to facilitate the FRA implementation process in the State. Thanks
are also due to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India for looking after the implementation of
the FRA in the State and guiding the State Government for its better implementation.
This “Critical Observations Report” is based on our involvement and experience in last 10
years of struggle and engagement in the grounds FRA implementation. We have been analyzing the
monthly FRA implantation Progress report, identified a number of issues and have appraised the
government of Odisha time and again to resolve them. Even the GoO has considered some of them
and have brought changes too i.e issuance of ST certificate by the Gram Sabha, segregation of CFR
titles distributed under Section 3(1) and 3(2) etc. Of course a lot more has to be done. This time, our
“Critical Observations and Comments” are made against the monthly “FRA Progress Report Table”
produced by the SLMC from last 2009. Basically the comments are based against the data shown in
different Columns of the latest “FRA Progress Report Table up to 30th April, 2013” and issues
involved therein with the information that we have from the grounds. Besides, we have requested and
sought more information and clarification on the status of other important forest rights recognized
under the forest rights act. We expect the GoO, especially the FRA Nodal SCST Department would
appreciate our efforts and act upon the issues being raised.
We are very much thankful to all of the individual members of the CSD, Odisha, and other
civil society organizations working on FRA in different districts of the State for sharing with us all
necessary information to complete this observation report. Hope, friends interested to know and
understand the various FRA implementation issues in the State of Odisha would find this “CSD,
Odisha’s Observation Report” useful one.
20th May 2013 CSD, Odisha
csdorissa@gmail.com

Download full report here

 

Almost 42,000 hectares of forest land diverted in Odisha


,Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar  March 26, 2013 BS

Land diversion for mining, irrigation, power, roads, railways, industries & defence

Forest land to the tune of 41,891.25 hectares (or 1,03,515.53 acres) has been diverted in Odisha till March 6, 2013 since the enactment of Forest Conservation Act-1980 by the Centre.
The forest land diversion has been effected for various sectors like mining, irrigation, power, roads, railways, industries and defence.Almost all standalone mine lesses and industrial players with end-use projects like National Aluminium Company (Nalco) have benefited from forest land diversion in the state.

Forest land diversion has been carried out in the state in accordance with Section 2 of Forest Conservation Act, forest minister Bijayshree Routray said in a written reply in the state assembly.

On compliance to Forest Rights Act and the August 2009 notification of the Union ministry of environment & forest, he said, “The proposals submitted to the MoEF are processed in accordance with the guidelines dated August 3, 2009 issued by the ministry in the matter of compliance of Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act-2006.
Certificate on five terms complying to the provisions of the above circular of MoEF is submitted by the collectors of the concerned districts who head the district level committee for settlement of Forest Rights and are annexed to the forest diversion proposal while recommending the diversion proposal to the ministry. The certificates along with the resolution of the gram sabha duly signed by the members present and its English version are sent to MoEF for consideration.”

The state government is sitting over 431 proposals of forest land diversion across sectors like irrigation, industry, mining, energy, railway, roads & bridges and human habitations.

Mining sector tops the list with 205 proposals pending for diversion of forest land.

Other sectors with forest land diversion proposals in the pipeline are irrigation (27), industry (29), energy (44), railway (21), roads & bridges (37), human habitations (2) and miscellaneous (66).

It may be noted that mining activity alone has resulted in diversion of 8,194.86 hectares (or 20,249.94 acres) of forest land in Keonjhar district.

 

PRESS RELEASE-#India- Don’t allow Govt to ram through land acquisition bill


 

CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY

Contact: Q-1 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi. Ph: 9873657844, forestcampaign@gmail.com

 

25.02.2013

To:

Smt. Meira Kumar

Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha, New Delhi

Sub: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill – request that the same may be sent to a Standing Committee as it has been extensively modified after being tabled in Parliament, depriving the public and in particular affected communities of any possibility of comment

Dear Madam,

We are a national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers’ organisations from ten States. We write to bring to your notice that the government is seeking to ensure the swift passage of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill and we understand that it may attempt to do so in the next day or two. In this context we wish to draw the following to your attention:

  • The government reportedly intends to move more than 150 amendments to the original Bill.
  • As per the amendments tabled in Parliament in December, these include many areas which were never addressed by either the Standing Committee’s report or the original Bill.
  • In particular, we are dismayed to find that the amendments contain several provisions that adversely affect the rights of Scheduled Tribes and forest dwellers, and in particular permit the destruction of community forests on the payment of arbitrary cash compensation as well as undermining the powers of local bodies under the Forest Rights Act and the PESA Act. Many of these provisions were not in the original Bill and were certainly not recommended by the Standing Committee. Further, they also violate international law.

In light of the fact that the tribals and forest dwellers of this country have been the worst-hit victims of decades of illegal, brutal and inhuman displacement at the hands of the statebasic respect for their democratic rights demands that this Bill be referred to a parliamentary committee for a full review. The government cannot be permitted to use its majority to simply ram through legislations while making a mockery of parliamentary procedures and public consultation. This would be a tremendous disservice to the people of this country and in particular an injustice to those who have already suffered as a result of the callousness of the state.

We trust you will not permit this government to bypass democracy in order to perpetrate one more historical injustice against the tribals and forest dwellers of this country.

Sincerely,

(On behalf of the Convening Collective)

 

__._,_.___

Land rights activists angered as India’s forest act undermined #humanrights


The government’s decision to allow major infrastructure projects to go ahead without obtaining consent for forest clearance paves the way for the violation of village land rights, say rights groups

Matthew Newsome

Friday 15 February 2013

guardian.co.uk

The living tree root bridges of Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, India - 2011

—-

Land and tribal rights in India have been dealt a new blow after the government announced last week that major infrastructure projects will be exempt from obtaining consent for forest clearance from tribal communities living in the forest, a decision that undermines the importance of the country’sForest Rights Act.

 

Tribal and forest rights activists say the decision by India’s ministers leaves village councils (gram sabhas) powerless to reject the building of roads, railways, transmission lines, canal systems, pipelines or other projects that potentially violate their land rights.

 

“This is serious breach of trust and a huge step back in ensuring the dignity and survival of traditional forest-dwelling people across the country. Forests are going to be cleared to make way for a particular kind of economic development; it will adversely impact communities and the environment,” said Dr Swati Shresth, from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.

 

The decision was adopted at a meeting convened by prime minister Manmohan Singh and attended by environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan and tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo. “The ministry took a decision that, subject to [the] Forest Rights Act, there will not be requirement of consent of each of the gram sabhas through which such linear projects such as roads, canals, pipelines, transmission towers etc pass,” said Natarajan.

 

The 2006 act is a landmark piece of legislation recognising the rights forest-dependent communities have over the landscape they have traditionally inhabited. It mandates that forest dwellers cannot be resettled unless their traditional rights have been recognised. It is seen as the single most important piece of legislation protecting and preserving the country’s biodiversity and the rights of tribal groups. By no longer gaining the consent of communities, the government stands accused of effectively overturning key provisions of the act.

 

“All traditional forest-dependent communities can be impacted including those who might have procured rights under the FRA and those who are still struggling for its implementation in their area,” said Shresth.

 

In 2009, the ministry of forests and environment (MoFE) made the consent of affected forest communities mandatory for all projects that would destroy forests. The move was in response to the attempt by British mining company Vedanta to clear swaths of forest in Orissa state belonging to the Dongria tribe. Last week’s announcement effectively revokes the 2009 order.

 

However, the government rejects claims that it is diluting rights in the name of streamlining big business, saying it will continue to enforce the provisions of the act “where there is significant impact on lives and livelihoods”.

“The proposed changes will enable land grabbing and the violation of rights of traditional forest dwellers, and sends a clear message that rights granted under the FRA are not inalienable, but subject to the whims of the government of the day,” said Shresth.

 

Such concerns were expressed to the prime minister’s office in a letter signed by a coalition of international forest rights movements. “We believe that it is against the democratic principles to make centralised decisions about the extent of social impact worth considering while diverting forests over which individuals and/or village community may have ‘inalienable’ forest rights vested through FRA. Overriding of such processes can lead to the danger of assuming that all rights can be monetised and negotiated,” it said.

 

Activists say this move will allow industry to build roads or canal systems for mining projects to transport extracted minerals to the refinery.

 

“The only objective is mining access. Mining companies need six road highways and optical fibre installations. Tribal communities don’t want this, and don’t want their precious forests replaced by these. The only beneficiaries of this amendment are the mining companies. This is about GDP, not about the rights of India’s tribal communities,” said Sanjay Basu Mullick from the All India Forum of Forest Movements.

 

The order threatens the area’s biodiversity, which risks discrediting India’s status as the current chair of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and of the Nagoya protocol, and the implementation of these international obligations on sustainable use and protection of biodiversity.

 

Against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth, government ministries have been lobbying the MoFE to exempt major infrastructure projects from FRA obligations. The country’s national highway authority took the MoFE and the ministry of tribal affairs to the supreme court in January, seeking FRA exemption for projects. According to the authority, 101 infrastructure projects had been frozen due to clearance delays.

 

“The move is part of a larger endeavour to restore investor confidence by a government facing general assembly elections in 2014. Various environmental protection rules have been seen to be responsible for a slump in the growth rate,” Shresth added.

I

 

#India-Stop moves to bypass Forest Rights Act when taking forest land for large projects #tribalrights


 

To:

Dr. Manmohan Singh 

Prime Minister of India 

New Delhi 110001

011-23019545 / 011-23016857

Sub: Stop moves to bypass Forest Rights Act when taking forest land for large projects

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh-ji,

For the last five years, ignoring protests from both people’s organisations and political parties, and despite the Forest Rights Act 2006, the practice of illegally grabbing forest land has remained dominantly in vogue in most of the country.  This happened because the Government of India could not make up its mind about what it intends to do with the Forest Rights Act, which recognises people’s rights over forest resources and their legal power to protect and manage them. The land-grab continued despite adverse comments by a Parliamentary Standing Committee, protests and mobilisations from across the country, and rhetoric from your government about its commitment to adivasi rights. Even the Minister of Tribal Affairs in your/ government, Shri Kishore Chandra Deo, has to write twice to highlight this illegality. Apparently, this has not stopped the Environment Ministry from indulging in grossly illegal practices of considering and clearing projects with definite environmental impacts.

The law requires that no forest land can be taken for a project without a certificate from the affected gram sabhas that their rights under the Forest Rights Act have been recognised, and that they( gram sabhas) agree to the diversion. As the Minister of Tribal Affairs himself put it, this is being “honoured in the breach” and the concerned statutory bodies are “misleading project proponents and the public”, thereby “produc[ing] conflict, harassment, injustice, delays and litigation.”

The question one likes to be answered is how a government that has recently seen one after another eruption of public anger against its callous and corrupt favouring of private interests, affords to favour the same interests at the cost of millions of forest dwelling citizens of this country, and compromising their legal and constitutional rights?

We now learn from media reports that your office, and in particular a committee headed by your  Principal Secretary, PMO, Pulok Chatterjee, has come out with a perfectly shocking state of ‘recommendations’ which aim to legalize the illegal practices the MoEF has been indulging in granting forest clearances for most projects. Citing a dubious reason of ‘delays in project clearances’ –something which none other than your Environment Minister has shown to be resulting from faulty documentation, fraudulent proposals and attempts at engaging in speculation—the rights of the some of the most marginalized and oppressed citizens of the country are to be sacrificed, by stipulating a series of unacceptable changes in the forest clearance process which in recent years has been to a great extent influenced by the order issued by the MoEF on August 2009.  The order which provided for a much needed regulatory framework to ensure compliance with both Forest Rights Act and PESA in the forest clearance process stands to be nullified if the PMO Committee’s recommendations are acted upon: the recommendations directly violate the FRA and, in Scheduled Areas, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (as well as by implication the Fifth Schedule itself). Procedural delay cannot be an excuse for bypassing laws. The alacrity, with which your government seeks to serve the interests of large corporations and resource grabbers, while paying a lip service to protecting tribal rights, exposes the real character of the UPA government’s administration.

We condemn this transparently corrupt, illegal and repressive move and demand. We therefore call upon you to:

  • Uphold and strictly enforce the Forest Rights Act and the 2009 order of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for FRA compliance, ensuring that no forest land is taken without gram sabha consent and without certificates from gram sabhas that rights recognition is complete;
  • Start criminal prosecution against officials who have diverted or tried to divert forest land without respecting people’s rights;
  • Withhold existing clearances for diversion of forest land. They should be cancelled if found to violate the provisions of the Act or the 2009 order. Where projects have already come up, those affected should be rehabilitated as well as granted additional compensation for the criminal violation of their rights (along with prosecution of those responsible).

Thanking You

 

Mahasweta Devi, Writer, Winner of Gyanpith and Magsaysay Award Winner

 

Dr. Ajit Banerjee, Ex- Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal

 

Samar Bagchi, Ex-Director, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, Kolkata

 

Dr. Kalyan Rudra, River Expert, Columnist

 

Biswajit Mukherjee, Ex-Chief Law Officer, Dept. of Environment, Govt. of West Bengal

 

Prof. Sujay Basu, Scientist

 

Prof. Suvendu Dasgupta, Economist, Columnist

 

Jaya Mitra, Writer, Columnist

 

Dr. Meher Engineer, Ex-Director, Bose Institute, Kolkata

 

Naba Dutta, Columnist and Secretary, Nagarik Mancha

 

Jayanto Basu, Environmentalist

 

Balai Soren, Secretary, Adibasi Banabasi Adhikar Mancho

 

Soumitra Ghosh, Secretary, Nespon, Siligui, West Bengal

 

Sasanka Dev, Secretary, DISHA, Kolkata

 

Pradip Chatterjee, Secretary, National Fishworkers’ Forum

 

Gobinda Das, Secretary, Sundarban Matsyajibi Joutha Sangram Committee

 

Tejendralal Das, President, Dakshin Banga Matsyajibi Forum

 

Dhinkia Gram Sabha Unanimously Resolves NOT to Divert Forest Land for #POSCO


Dear Friends,

On 18th of October 2012 , more than 2000 people participated in the Dhinkia Gram Sabha ( Panchayat level assembly of adult members) meeting and passed unanimous resolution stating their refusal to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO for its 12million steel plant covering 4004 acres of land under the rights provided to the Gam Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. It may be recalled here that Gram Sabha happens to be most fundamental unit of decision making in India’s grass root democracy guaranteed by the constitution.

The resolution that was read and resolved contained the following:

“The Gram Sabha of Dhinkia panchayat in its meeting on dated 18th October 2012hereby decides and resolves on the following matters relating to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and its implementation the village. This has reference to the letter (No. TD 11 (FRA)-06/2011) issued by the ST & SC Development Department. on 7th September 2012 had instructing Collectors to ensure discussion and planning on the pending claims under the Forest Rights Act and to ensure consolidation of list of claims for further monitoring and disposal.

• The villages under this Panchayat have rights over forest lands and have initiated process of claims on rights under Forest Rights Act. Claims on the forest lands approved and recommended by the Palli Sabhas of villages (Dhinkia, Govindpur…) are still pending for recognition and no step has been taken to recognize and vest the rights. No information and training on Forest Rights Act have been provided to the villages, forms and necessary records have been supplied by the government to support claim making process, all contrary to its obligations under the Rules. In this regard the Gram Sabha directs the District Level Committee to ensure completion the process for recognition of individual and community rights as per claims submitted by the Forest Rights Committee/Palli Sabha of the concerned villages which are still pending. In this regard Gram Sabha asks the SDLC and DLC to provide the status of claims to the Palli Sabhas and FRCs of the villages.

• The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Amendment Rules, 2012 have been notified on 6th September 2012. As required under the amendment rules the Palli Sabha shall initiate the process for claiming community forest resources rights under Section 3 (1)(i) of the Forest Rights Act. In accordance with the amendment rules of the FRA, the Gram Sabha calls upon the District Level Committee to ensure recognition of the community forest resource rights in the villages coming under this Panchayat as required in the amendment Rule 12 (B)(3).

• The Gram Sabha calls upon the government and district administration to comply to decisions of the Palli Sabhas with regard to use and management of the community forest resources in accordance with Section 5 of the Forest Rights Act. The gram sabha reiterates the decision of the palli sabhas of Dhinkia and Govindpur to protect forests, biodiversity and all livelihood resources in the boundary of this panchayat.

• The Gram Sabha in particular endorses the resolution passed by Palli Sabha of village Dhinkia on 3rd October, 2012 and asks the SDLC and DLC to complete the process of recognition of rights under FRA and to desist from any proposed diversion of forest land as the recognition of rights is not complete and Palli Sabha of the village has not given consent. Any such diversion will be a criminal offence under section 7 of the FRA.

• The Gram Sabha takes note of the disruption of the Palli Sabha meeting of village Govidnpur on 4th October, 2012 which was not allowed to pass resolution on the decisions taken on claims under FRA and on the diversion of forest land. Obstruction of the proceeding of the Palli Sabha amounts to obstruction of the process of recognition of rights and violation of the authority of Palli Sabha under Section 6 of FRA. This Gram Sabha considers this as violation of FRA and an offence under Section 7 of FRA and issues notice to the State Level Monitoring Committee to proceed against the DLC and officials involved. Gram Sabha also takes the decision to hold Palli Sabha again in village Govindpur and directs the authorities to provide necessary support.

• The Gram Sabha endorse decision taken by the Palli Sabhas to not give consent to the diversion of forest lands under its customary use and boundary for the purpose of the POSCO steel plant project, or for any other purpose, and directs the District Level Committee and the State government to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, the guideline issued by Ministry of Environment & Forests on 30.07.2009 and the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 12th July 2012 in this regard. Diversion of forest land without compliance to the Forest Rights Act and the above mentioned guidelines is a violation of the Forest Rights Act and a criminal offence.”

It may be recalled here that, on 3rd October 2012, the villagers of Dhinkia Gram Panchayat organized Palli sabha (Village level Assembly of adult persons) and Passed resolution not to divert the forest land to POSCO. Under the Forest Right Act 2006 , no forest land can be diverted until all the rights of the people in the area are recognised and their consent of the concerned gram sabha is obtained for the diversion. This is a statutory requirement under FRA, mandated further by a Ministry of Environment Ministry’s order of August 3, 2009.

The inhabitants of Govindpur village had organized Palli Sabha on 4th of October and passed a similar resolution stating their refusal to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO. However, sponsored goons of the company and the state agencies, created disruption and forcibly took away the resolution paper in a pre-planned startegy. Against this, the PPSS members held a one day protest at Erasama block office. In the end, villagers of Govindpur received their resolution copies.

People’s resolution sent a strong message to the Government that people are against illegal diversion of forest land for the project and gave a befitting reply to the recent declaration of Mr. Yong Won Yoon CMD of POSCO to start the project soon. This resolution has also exposed the government and POSCO’s earlier claim that people are in support of the POSCO project.

The POSCO and the state government are repeatedly announcing that there will be no forcible land acquisition. This Gram sabha resolution has given a strong message that majority of people are against the project. Hence they should respect the decision of people and cancel the POSCO project outright.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

 

Threats to Greenpeace Team in Madhya Pradesh


Baiga tribe family in Balaghat district Madhya...

Baiga tribe family in Balaghat district Madhya Pradesh, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To,

Shri M Selvendran
Collector,
Singrauli District
Sub :  Complaint on continuous threat faced by Greenpeace team working in Mahan region in Singrauli , Madhya Pradesh.
 
Dear Sir,
As you know, Greenpeace has been working in the Mahan region (Waidhan Tehsil) on the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior. We have been working in the villages of Budher, Suhira, Amelia, Pidharwa and other villages in the region. The company, Mahan Coal Limited, has in the past tried to instigate the villagers against us, and also tried to threaten us to stop us from working in the region.
We wanted to bring to your attention the most recent incident. Yesterday, a white Tata Sumo  with no number plate, followed our team in Amelia, Suhira and Budher villages in Waidhan Tehsil of Singrauli district, a photograph of the vehicle is attached. The vehicle was later parked outside the Mahan Coal Limited office, in Amelia village, Singrauli District. We believe this is done with an intention to intimidate our team.
We have been facing threat calls and people have been following our team since January this year, which we have brought to your attention. We had also filed a police complaint with the Waidhan Thana on 15th Janury 2012 citing details for the earlier incident when we have been followed and harassed by people in a yellow Nano car (again bearing no registration or number plate). We had filed a second police complaint on 18-3-2012 when we were followed by an Indica car (MP-53-TA-7085) and threatened by people.
The villagers in Amelia, Budher and Suhira are planning to get a resolution in their village Gram Sabhas   on the 15th of August 2012 to claim community forest rights in the Mahan forests. This is a right the people have, and they are being intimidated and told not to fight for their rights. The villagers have informed us time and again that officials of the Mahan Coal Limited have been threatening them and intimidating them.
Greenpeace has been working on the implementation of the Forest Rights Act and raising awareness on environmental issues in the region since June, 2011. It had undertaken a fact finding mission in the region along with eminent members like Justice Suresh Hosbet (Retd Justice, Mumbai High Court), Kalpana Kannabiran (lawyer activist), Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (eminent journalist), R Sreedhar (mines, minerals and People). The report resulting from this mission was published and released both regionally and nationally. We later held a public meeting to generate awareness on the Forests Rights Act (especially community forest rights) on the 6th of May 2012 in Budher village which was attended by M B Rajesh (Member of Parliament ) as well as representatives from the administration and forest department.
I request you to kindly take action against these people who are intimidating and threatening us and obstructing our travel and work.
 Regards,
Priya Pillai
Campaigner Greenpeace
 
Copy to:
1. Suprintentent of Police, Singrauli District.
2. Director General of Police.
3. Jan Sangharsh Morcha (JSM), Madhya Pradesh.
4. Members of Forest Rights Group.
5. Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD).
6. Mines, Minerals and People (mmP).
7. National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).
8. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
9. Amnesty International, India .
10. Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
11. Delhi Forum.
12. National Forum for  Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW)

Land and the people: ‘Injustice still being perpetuated by govts’


Picea smithiana forest. Around Vashist, Himach...

Picea smithiana forest. Around Vashist, Himachal Pradesh, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 11:03 IST
By Subir Ghosh & Maitreyi Joshi | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

State governments across the country have been both callous and tardy in implementing the Forest Rights Act. Claims are being rejected on flimsy grounds, with the rejection rate in as many as 11 states being over 50%. Karnataka stands fourth in the rejection rate with 95.66%, according to a compilation released on Monday by the Delhi-based Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN).

As of January 31 this year, 31,68,478 claims have been received and 27,24,162 (85.98%) disposed of. In terms of rejection, Uttarakhand is on the top with 100% followed by Himachal Pradesh (99.62%), Bihar (98.12%), Karnataka (95.66%) and Uttar Pradesh (80.48%), The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is popularly referred to as the Forest Rights Act.

There are numerous reasons for this.
Paritosh Chakma, director of AITPN, explained, “Forest Rights Committees have not been constituted at the gram sabha level in several states while the forest officials have been obstructing the process of verification and decision making at various levels. The claimants are denied proper hearing of their cases and opportunity to file appeal against the rejections.”

The nodal ministry i.e. Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA)has washed its hands off by maintaining that its role is limited to “facilitating and monitoring the implementation”. On the other hand, the nodal departments at the state level do not understand the provisions of the FRA and have been reduced to performing a ‘post office’ job of collecting statistical information and forwarding it to the higher levels.

The reason for Karnataka being high on the list was explained by Srikanth, the state convener of the Tribal Joint Action. He said, “Officials in the state government have not had a proper orientation about FRA. They do not even understand what the law implies and they have just been rejecting all the applications, stating reasons like ‘they do not live in forests’ and ‘they are not doing agriculture on the land’. They have missed out on the what the Act exactly means. It is because of the lethargy and negligence of all these people in power – forest and revenue officers – that several people are suffering.”

The problem has been complicated by the fact that the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules, 2007 (better known as the Forest Rights Rules, 2007) notified on January 1, 2008 actually overrules the Forest Rights Act to deny rights to the beneficiaries.

VS Roy David, national convenor of the National Adivasi Alliance, said “The central government had allotted lots of funds to organise training programmes to create awareness about the Act among forest and district officials, but very few training programmes have been held (which were poorly attended). Most higher officials who are supposed to implement the law are not even clear about what the law means.”

The AITPN report ‘The State of the Forest Rights Act: Undoing of historical injustice withered’ categorically says that there has been little willingness to implement the FRA in letter and spirit. The MoTA especially had been shirking its responsibilities. In 2010, the MoTA had claimed that “Though the Act was passed by the central government, the primary responsibility of implementing this Act lies with the state governments” and that its role is limited to only “facilitating and monitoring the implementation” of the Forest Rights Act.

Roy David said, “There is no political will to implement the law. Forest officials look at forests as commercial sites from which they extract resources. If the law is implemented, the people in power worry that they will not be able to enjoy the same powers anymore. Moreover, there is a lot of political interference; many areas are being declared as ‘tiger sensitive’, ‘heritage sites’ and ‘elephant corridors’ even before the Forest Rights Act is implemented. This clearly is the violation of law.”

There are other issues too. Contended Chakma, “The community forest rights (CFRs) are not being recognised and in many states even the forms are not supplied. The claims under the FRA are not being recognised in the protected areas such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The ‘Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ are being denied rights under the FRA.”

The president of the Karnataka Adivasi Forum, JP Raju, said, “The forest and district officials are supposed to conduct community surveys to understand the status of the forest dwellers, but they are not doing that. Most applications are being rejected stating that there are not enough evidence(s) and documents supporting the application.”

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,231 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,799,533 hits

Archives

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
%d bloggers like this: