October 31, 2015

Odisha Channel Bureau JALESWAR: Raibania Anchalika Jungle Surakhya Coordination Committee (RAJSCC) organised a day-long Adivasi Samabesh at Bhola Sahi of village Baradiha on Friday in protest against illegal encroachment and destruction of community forest land by the forest department people who were allegedly hand in glove with the local Sarpanch.According to a press release, around 1500 people from the villages Kalama, Kankai and Baradiha of Baradiha gram panchayat, Harinabandha and Bhadarapada village of Khuada gram panchayat and Chhota Begunia, Kadhajudi and Dambarubari village of Syamanagar gram panchayat participated in the protest meeting.tribals-protestJagannath Mahanta, Secretary of the RAJSCC presided over the protest Samabesh.The veteran local leader and Ex-MLA Arun Dey of Baleswar constituency joined the protest Samabesh as chief guest while Manohar Chauhan, member Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha joined as chief speaker on the occasion.Budhanga Tudu, the president of the RAJSCC welcoming the guests and participants shared the objective of the protest meeting.He said that “while the forest is almost destroyed in the area, they have been protecting the small patch of forest in the Raibania area surrounded by Baradiha, Khuanda and Syamanagar gram panchayat from generations.They have also formed Vana Sarankhyana Samittee (VSS) and RAJSCC – a federation comprising of 12 villages forest protect committees.The Baradiha forest has been a source of livelihood of the local tribals (mostly Santhal, Bhumija and Munda and other forest dwellers like Kamar and Mahanta community living around the forest.Jagannath Mahanta raised serious concern over illegal encroachment of around 40 acres of (gramya jungle) forest land in Surehi Sahi hamlet of village Baradiha Village by Ajay Mohanty, Sarpanch of Baradiha gram panchayat.He alleged that Mohanty is said to have taken lease/occupied 3.23 acres of private land of Bajendra Mohanty having Khata No-1173/4 and plots Nos-4144, 4136, 4137 and 4138 in the village closer to the forest land plots of the village.But he has illegally occupied around 40 acres of forest land (gramya jungle) i.e.Plot Nos-4142,4141,4140,4139,4135,4145,4146,4143 and 4129 from the Rakhit Khata No-1193 of the village Baradiha from 2012 and have constructed a farm house.The Sarpanch belongs to the BJD and despite complaint he continues to occupy the forest land.The villagers have also complained against him before the district administration and even before the local MLA, but since Mohanty belongs to BJD no action has been taken against him, Mahanta alleged.Malati Mahanta alleged forest land grabbing by the Cashew Corporation along with the local forest department.She said that very recently in last Sept 2015 without the consent of the Gram Sabha, the cashew corporation has cleared around 60 acres of forest land i.e.(Plot No-4243, 4245,4246,4247,4248 of the Rakhit Khata No-1193) engaging JCB machine and have destroyed around 5000 natural Sal trees in Surehi Sahi.The villagers protested against it and have stopped the tree felling with the support of Arun Dey and have filed complaint against it before the forest department.But the forest department said to have taken no action till date.

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