Nuapada, Feb 24: Hundreds of tribals and forest dwellers under the banner of Jami Jungle Mukti Andolan(JJMA) affiliated to Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD) a national level campaign marched in a protest rally on 23rd Feb 2016 in Nuapada district headquarters demanding recognition of forest rights. The protest march started from the mini stadium, moved around the Nuapada town and gheraoed the collector office.
Around 1500 tribals and forest dweller from all the five blocks, Nuapada, Komana, Boden , Kahriar and Sinapali joined in the protest rally and gave slogans i.e. “Gram Sabha Sarkar -Zinadabad”, “Jami Jungle Mukti Anadolan –Zundabad”, “CSD Odisha –Zinadabad”, “Gosti Jugle Adhikar -Amar Dabi”, “Collector tume Amar Adhikar Maninia”Annyanya Paramparika Banabasinkar Byaktigat Adhikar Manyatadia”, Jungle Gaon ku Rajaswa gaon re Parinata Kara” etc.
Addressing the protest Rally, Khuturam Sunani, senior leader of the JJMA said “despite our consistent struggles and reminders, the Nuapada district administration has failed to solve our long standing problems of forest rights in last 7years of FRA implementation. “While hundreds of Community Forest Rights(CFR) titles have been issued in many States and in many districts in Odisha, not a single community forest rights have been issued in the Nuapada district and all the 18 Community Forest Rights titles reported to have been issued in the district are based on Section 3(2) meant of developmental programmes and are not based on Section 3(1) of FRA meant for community forest rights.”
He alleged. Joining the protest march, Manohar Chauhan, member CSD, Odisha said, “when no gram sabha has rejected any individual forest right(IFR) claim, the district administration has illegally and arbitrarily shown around 11,215 IFR claims rejected by the Gram Sabha in its status report. He further said “forest land constitutes 50% of the total geographical area of the district and since most (99.97%) of the forest land available in the district is revenue forest land, there should not be any problems in recognizing community forest rights in the district.
But despite claims filed, it is unfortunate that the district administration has failed to recognized any community forest rights in the district.” He said. It is to be noted that as per the FRA status report produced by the district, by Nov, 2016, in total 23, 257 IFR claims have been filed in the Nuapada district and only 6150 IFR titles have been issued and 11, 215 IFR claims and 1000 claims have been shown rejected by Gram Sabha by Sub-Divisional Level Committee(SDLC) respectively. Besides, 4083 IFR claims reported to have been remanded back to the Gram Sabha by SDLC.
“While many villages of the district lack basic facilities i.e drinking water, education and communication etc., Govt. of Odisha wants to fulfill whose interest the by constructing four lines road in the district??”. JJMA questioned. The JJMA has also raised serious concern over Govt.’s proposal for declaration of Sunabeda Sanctuary as 3rd Tiger Project/Reserve in the State and has questioned inclusion of 800 Sq. km territorial forest with the 600 Sq. km sanctuary area without recognizing forest rights and without taking consent of the local community violating FRA.
Trilochan Minz, ADM Nuapada received the memorandum of JJMA on behalf of the district collector. However the members of JJMA are sitting in a protest dharana in front of the Collector office and are determined to continue the protest dharana until the district collector do not invite them for discussion on their demands made.
The important demands made in the memorandum are;
1. Recognition of community rights and rights over community forest resources
2. Recognition of individual forest rights of the OTFDs including Paharia community
3. Recognition of IFR rights over “Gramya Jungle Jogya” and “Dogari” kissam of forest land
4. Halting of plantation programmes/Ama jungle Yojana/Vana Surakhya Samitees (VSS) in the district
5. Conversion of forest/un-surveyed villages into revenue village as per FRA
6. Issuance of Caste/tribal certificate based on IFR titles issued
7. Inclusion of forest land issued under FRA under crop loss benefits due to drought
8. ST status to the Paharia Community
9. Withdrawal of royalty from Kendu leave and payment of procurement price to the Kendu leaf pluckers
10. Drinking water facilities to all florid affected villages