A state level workshop on the issues and challenges in “ MGNREGA, Forest Rights Act and Land Rights” has been organized by the Odisha Chapter of Rashtriya JanatantriK Samanyoya(RAJAS), a rights based sangathan fighting for “Right to Work and total Employment” on 17th Jan 2015 at Lohia Academy. Around 60 participants from 18 districts of Odisha participated in the Workshop. Arun Prasad Dehudi, the organizer of the programme welcomed all the participants and shared the objectives of the workshop.
National Convenor of RAJAS, Arbinda Anjum formally inaugurated the workshop. In his key note address he said “RAJAS is campaigning for Right to work and total employment in the country.” He also emphasized on the community rights over natural resources and its proper use towards employment generation in the villages.” Manthan, a core team member of RAJAS from Jharkhanda informed the house that RAJAS was formed in 2004 and it is now active in 12 states with the local Sanathans.
Speaking on the occasion, Prafulla Samantara, President, Lok Shati Abhijan emphasized on the agricultural and forest based livelihood in the state. Questioning the intention of BJP Govt. at the centre for bringing recent anti-people Land Acquisition Ordinance, he said “while Sumitra Mahajan, present Lok Sabha Speaker of BJP Govt. was very critical over the acquisition of agricultural land for industries when she was in the Parliamentary Standing Committee. How could she allow Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014 now which is anti-farmer and anti-agriculture? He reemphasized on the democratic land acquisition process introduced in the 2013 Act during the UPA Govt.
Dr. Binayak Ratha, former Vice Chancellor of Utkal University, joining the workshop as guest speaker said, “the Land Acquisition Ordinance is not only Draconian in nature but also it is unethical as it has withdrawn the provision of Social Impact Assessment (SIA), a scientific and democratic process being introduced by the UPA Govt. in 2013.” He further emphasized on land distribution among the landless families living in the villages for generations before land acquisition for private companies by the Govt.
Mahendra Parida, Secretary of A.I.C.C.T.U attacked the Central Govt. for bringing anti-laborer policies and said, “this Govt. is the government of corporate sectors and for corporate sectors and all these policies will not help the common man and laborers but the contractors and bureaucrats only”. He called upon all the sangathans working for common people in the state to understand this and to organize the people accordingly. He advocated for Rs.15000/- minimum wage for the laborers working in different sectors.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were Sudarsan Chhotaray, Convenor, Focus Odisha, Pradip Pradhan, Convenor, RTI Campaign, Odisha, Amulya Nayak of Adivasi Chetana Sangathan, Ananta, convenor of Loka Mukiti Sangathan, Sarat Ratha of Samaj Pragati Sahayog, M.P. Manohar Chauhan and Pradeep Sahu of Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD), Odisha, Tapan Padhee of Mission Justice and Pratap Mohanty of Vasundhara etc.
They critically analyzed different issues and challenges in agriculture sectors, problems of labourers working in unorganized sectors, problems in the implementation of MRNREGA, Forest Rights Act, and Land distribution schemes in the State. At the end of the programme, Amulya Nakay gave vote of thanks to all the participants of the workshop.