Odisha News Insight

NCST Slams Odisha Govt on alleged Forest Rights Act violations

NCSTBhubaneswar, Nov 26: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) , New Delhi Slams Govt.of Odisha in its recent direction for the alleged violation of  Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the State. The Direction is based on the petition filed by Gopinath Majhi, Convenor, Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD), Odisha during the visit of the NCST in Odisha on 2nd to 5th Sept 2015.  Dr. Rameswara Oraon, Chairman of the NCST with his team consisting of Shyam S. Agrawal, Secretary and R.K Dube P.A. had been to Odisha in the 1st week of September 2015.

The Commission taking the cognisance of the petition filed by Gopinath Majhi, had written a strong warded letter to the Chief Secretary marking a copy to the STSC Secretary, Govt. of Odisha on 21st Oct 2015.

In its letter the Commission has directed the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha to investigate into the alleged FRA violations in the State in pursuance of the power conferred upon it under Article -338A of the Constitution of India and has asked to submit the fact and information on the action taken for the protection of the tribal and tribal land to undersigned within 30 days of receipt of this notice either by post or by in person etc.

The NCST has also cautioned the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha that in case Commission does not receive any replay within a stipulated time, the Commission may exercise the process of Civil Court conferred on it under Article-338A of the Constitution of India and issue summon to the Chief Secretary for the appearance in person  or by representative before the Commission.

Based on the 21st October Direction of the NCST, New Delhi, Shri R Raghu Prashad, Director of  ST of Tribal Welfare Department, Govt. of  Odisha has written to the Special Secretary, Forest and Environment and Revenue Dept. Govt. of Odisha and to all the District Collectors to comply with the direction of the NCST, New Delhi.

It is to be noted that CSD, Odisha is the State Chapter of the National level Forest Rights Campaign which struggled for the very enactment of the historic FRA in 2006. The Act is being implemented in the State from last March 2008.

The important issues raised by CSD, Odisha before the NCST are; Disrespecting the Gram Sabha by SDLC and DLC during implementation of FRA in the State, Issuance of  Individual Forest Rights (IFR) district without ground/filed verification,Denial recognition of IFR to the eligible Other Traditional Forest Dwellers in the State,Providing Misleading Information by SLMC on the recognition of Community Forest(CR) Rights and Community Rights over Community Forest Resources(CFR) in the State, Illegal State’s attempts to convert Vana Sarakhyana Samittees (VSS) in to Gram Sabha’s  forest Protection and Management Committee under Section 4(1) (e) of the Forest Rights Rules , 2007,No initiative towards conversion of forest/ un surveyed villages in the State despite Central Guidelines issued on 8th Nov 2013,Violation of Forest Rights during diversion of forest land for Mining and Industry,Non recognition of  Habitat Rights of 13 PTG/PVTG in the State,Non Recognition of Ownership rights over Minor Forest Produce(MFP) like Kendu Leaf and Bamboo by the State Government etc

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