CPI(M) Polit Bureau Member, Brinda Karat accused the central government of being reluctant in implementing the Forests Rights Act. Addressing the press at Agartala today Brinda charged that the unwillingness arose because once the rights of tribals on the forest land was recognized, it will hamper the plunder of tribal lands by big business in the name of mining and other development projects. She was in Tripura to attend the two day meeting of the Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch.
She said that around 32 lakh applications for pattas of forest land were submitted to different state governments. But almost 50% of these, i.e. around 15.8 lakh applications have been rejected. It is only in Tripura that no application has been rejected and around 1.17 lakh families have been given pattas.
Brinda pointed out that many non-tribals who have been residing in the forests before independence do not have proof of residence as the then British rulers did not give them pattas. The present law stipulates a minimum 75 years of residence with proof thereof for a non tribal family to get patta. It is in this light that we have been demanding that the law be amended so that all the tribal people and also the SCs and other sections of people residing in the forest land could have a legal right of residence. But the centre is reluctant to do so and is in fact sabotaging the proper implementation of the law, because they are more interested in helping the corporates in their plunder of our rich mineral and natural resources which are in the tribal areas, she sad.
Brinda Karat demanded that the centre should pass a law that makes it mandatory for the central and state governments to implement the tribal sub-plan properly and money be allocated and spent according to the percentage of tribal population.
She said, the recent NSSO figures show that as much as 47% of the tribal population has turned into wage laborers from cultivators. The percentage of cultivators among the tribal has gone down to as low as 37%. Landlessness is increasing among the tribals making them more impoverished. There is a huge backlog as vacant posts reserved for SCs and STs are not being filled up. With privatization of Central PSUs, reservation itself is being done away with.
Agartala, August 12, 2013