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August 18, 2016

Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), which played a vital role in the enactment of historic Forest Rights Act, 2006, has vehemently criticised Odisha government for its failure to reach out hundreds of villages like Nagada in Jajpur district even after 70 years of independence of the country.

Nagada has exposed government’s failure and administrative callousness towards tribals.While many rights based organisations, news reports, including opposition political parties across the State have criticised the government for the alleged death of 19 children due to measles, chickenpox and malnutrition, CSD targeted the government for its failure to implement the Forest Rights Act in Nagada village which has been implemented in the State since March 2008.

Nagada-village

“Despite Odisha government’s claims to be No.1 State to have issued highest number of individual forest rights (IFR) i.e.3,78,675 titles in the country, the picture of Nagada reveals that there are hundreds of such interior villages where FRA implementation is yet to start,” CSD said in a statement issued to media on Thursday.CSD has demanded government to disclose village wise status of FRA implementation in the State including in hundreds of forest and unsurveyed villages.

A four member fact finding team of CSD reached Nagada and interacted with the community people and government officials and found that most of the Juanga families in the village are landless and cultivating forest land and are supposed to get individual forest rights title, community rights titles and PTG habitat rights etc.

“From the interaction with the community, it is very clear that they are unaware of FRA, unaware of Forest Rights Committee, and community rights to be recognised.It was only after Nagada issue that the government machinery has woken up and have recently organised Gram Sabha meeting on 29th July in the village under FRA”. CSD asserted that as per the Record of Right (RoR), the survey and settlement of the village has been done in 1980s and there are only 6 khatas and 182 plots in the revenue village Nagada having 761.45 acres geographical area.While only 2.54 per cent (19.38 acres) of village land has been recorded as private land in two khatas (Panua Juanga and Bhima Padhan) the rest 97.46 per cent of land (742.07) is recorded as government land.

Out of the 742.07 acres of government land, forest land is 668.60 acres constituting 92.79 per cent of the total govt.in the village where all most all families of three hamlets in the village are doing cultivations.Besides, the village Nagada is surrounded by reserve forest from its West and South sides where they are entitled to get community rights over forest.As per the Census 2011, there were 55 households in the village having 307 (149 males and 158 female) population and 95 (48 male and 47 female) children under the age 06 years.

Census 2001 had recorded 56 households having 247 (122 male and 125 female) population in the village.CSD has also called the whole incident of Nagada as corporate-cum-government conspiracy to clear the gate way for mining in the area.“While the Govt. failed to construct a footpath for the tribals in the hilly tracts, why the government is constructing 60 feet wide (Ashokjhara to Nagada) road into the forest,” CSD questioned.“It is to facilitate the mining agencies such as Tata Steel, Odisha Mining Corporation, the Jindals, IMFA and Balasore Alloys etc who have offices in Kaliapani town, 20 km away from the Nagada area and have eyed over the chromite deposits in the Nagada area.” Questioning the love for corporate sectors, CSD proclaimed “while all the executive agencies have failed to implement the welfare schemes and programmes of both Central and State Government meant for tribals, it is unethical and illogical to seek corporate help for the welfare of the poorest section of the society.”CSD also criticised the government for its attempts to relocate the tribals habitations instead of extending basic amenities, and fear that the Government of Odisha may use Rs.600 crore CAMPA fund to relocate the tribals.Realising the communication as major issue in the interior tribal pockets, CSD has suggested the government to use Section 3(2) of FRA, 2006 to construct roads for the villages in the forest area.CSD appreciated the Government efforts to identify hundreds of villages like Nagada across the State and urged it to take special programmes to ensure basic facilities and implementation of all welfare schemes and programmes.Besides, the outfit also asked Government of Odisha to include all the left out PVTG villages within the fold of micro project area.

Looking to the distance of these villages from the G.P headquarters, CSD suggested conversion of all those villages into panchayats per the provision of PESA, 1996 and adoption of FRA gram sabha for all purposes in all villages to implement all welfare programmes.

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