Will the Primitive Tribes also Not Get the Rights to Forestland?

7 January 2012, Kabirdham. On 7 January the Jansatyagrah Samvad Yatra reached Bodla tehsil of the Kabirdham district in the region also known as
„Baigachak‟. Addressing the meeting organised by Ekta Parishad Shri Kamal Singh Baiga of Sajatola said that despite the Forest Rights Act the forest department is planting trees on the land cultivated by the Baigas while more and more non-tribals gain control of their land. 32 families had filed claims to forestland in his village and only 18 claims have been settled. Dharam Singh Baiga of village Daldali said that in his region the Baiga people were being alienated from their lands by large corporates like Vendanta for bauxite mining. He said that in the villages that fell in the bauxite mines core area the claims filed by the people were not being considered while at the same time the land cultivated by the tribals and other forestlands were being given to the mining companies. Manohar Baiga of village Nawatola said that in his village 40 Baiga families had been cultivating 100 acres of forestland for the last 22 years and had filed claims for the same but so far no action has been taken on their applications. Mahu Baiga of village Bijapani said that in his village 10 Baiga families had been cultivating 35 acres of forestland for the last eight years and had filed claims for the same but instead of settlement they face a court case that has been filed against them by the forest department.

District coordinator of Kabirdham for Ekta Parishad Ms Shyamvati said that 1445 Baigas have filed their claims through the organization of which only 502 have been accepted while no action has been taken on the remaining. She said that in comparison to the land for which claims have been filed much less is being given to the people while settlement for the homestead land is not being done as a result a situation of dispute and unrest is being created in the region. More than 1000 Baigas will participate in the Jansatyagrah 2012 from the region, she concluded.
The second halt of the yatra was at village Kui-Kukdur of Pandaria tehsil where a general meeting had been jointly organised by Ekta Parishad and Adivasi Samta Manch. Addressing the meeting Shri Jaglu Baiga of sajankhar village said that despite government schemes over 3000 Baiga families have not been able to file their claims for cultivated forestland. The government had also promised to withdraw all criminal cases registered against Baiga people but so far nothing has been done, he added. Sukhnu Baiga of village Pathratola said that in his village 22 Baiga families had filed their claims for 50 acres of cultivated forestland but they have not been given record of rights to the extent of cultivated land so they would like to file their claims once again. Tiharu Baiga of Bhira Gram Panchayat said that 14 Baiga families have not received land despite filing claims for the same instead a court case has been filed against them by the forest department. Shri Naresh of Adivasi Samta Manch said that they along with Ekta Parishad have been raising these issues before the administration but so far the administration hasn‟t shown any positive signs. In 2003 after the Ekta Parishad led Pandaria Movement the state government had promised settlement of the occupied land by 6100 Baiga families however even after eight years the promise remains to be fulfilled. He announced that unless the government starts the land distribution to the Baiga families thousands of them would be forced to start another Baiga movement as well as participate in the Jansatyagrah 2012 in large numbers.

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