Bhubaneswar, Dec 16: A state level consultation of the Habitat rights of the Particularly Venerable Tribes Groups(PVTG) was jointly organised by JivanVikas and ActionAid on Tuesday at Mahanadi Hall of CYSD, here.
Mr.B.N Durga, Programme Officer of ActionAid welcomed the participants of the consultation and shared the objectives of the workshop. Bilua Naik, Maha Sardar of Paudi Bhuiya Samaj inaugurated the one day Consultation on the Habitat Rights of the PVTG. Around 50 representatives of different PVTG i.e. PaudiBhuinya, Lodha, Khadia-Mankadia, Bonda, Didayi and Langia Saura joined the workshop and shared their habitat concept in their respective community.
Joining the workshop, Mr.SandeepPattanaik , programme Officer of NCAS, presented the significance of the Habitat concept in the Adibasi Community. Giving a historical background of the Habitat concept amongst the PVTGs he said, “ PVTGs are different from the other tribals in many respects and like to live in community and can be found in a particular patch in different district.”
Sanjay Upapadhyaya, Supreme Court Advocate who was also in the Drafting Committee of Forest Rights Rules, 2007 joined the workshop as guest speaker. He shared the objectives behind the ‘Habitat rights’ of PVTG recognised under FRA, 2006. Giving a historical background of the tribal area and scheduled area, he said “tribal areas were considered as “excluded area” and “partially excluded area” during the British period and has been recognised as habitat rights under FRA”. He also emphasised on the role of the District Level committee (DLC ) under Section 12B of the Forest rights (amendment ) Rules, 2012 under which the DLC has to ensure that all Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups receive habitat rights.
Shri Nilambar Rath, Founder & CEO of Academy of Media Learning joined the workshop and shared his working experience with the tribal communities and PVTGs.
Ghasiram Panda, Pragramme Manager, ActionAid sharing the status of the Habitat claims filed by different PVTGs in the State shared the important issues emerged at the community, SDLC and DLC level. He said “while the State Govt. considers the families covered under 17 Micro projects as PVTG in the state, the actual population of the 13 PVTGs in the state is much more than it.”
In the second session of the Consultation, ManoharChauhan, Member, Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD), Odisha gave an overview of the status of recognition of habitat rights of PVTGs in the country. He said, “out of 75 recognised PVTGs in the country, Odisha have the highest number (13) of PVTGs in the State residing in 12 districts and covered under 17 Micro Projects”.
Stressing upon ‘why habitat rights is important?he shared on the important steps needs to be followed during filing the rights over PVTG habitat.Talking over the confusion exists at the DLC,SLMC and even at MoTAlevel over the issue of non-forest land(private land and community revenue land) to be covered under PVTG Habitat, he said “since most (70 to 80%) in PVTG areai.eBonada , Juangaetcare recorded as revenue wasteland, excluding these lands from PVTG Habitat would have no meaning at all.
The representatives of PVTGs in the consultation presented on the status of their community and status of preparedness to files their Habitat claims after Group Discussion.
Advocate SankarPrasadPani joining the consultation shared on the legal aspects of the Habitat rights and challenges before its recognition. He emphasised upon clarification on various aspects of Habitat rights by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Pushpashree, of the ActionAid consolidated the discussion held in the one-day workshop and emphasised on the demands to be made before the State Government to expedite the Habitat rights recognition process in the State. It was collectively decided to share the issues and demands emerged in the consultation with the Govt. of Odisha.
Despite invitation and assurance, the Govt. People including officials from STSCRTI not participated in the consultation. At the end of the programme, B.N Durga gave vote of thanks to all the participants of the consultation.