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Koraput: Tribals in Orissa sieze forest-land from companies

Posted by Admin on July 20, 2009

orissaKORAPUT – Several agitated tribals in Orissa’s Koraput district have resorted to forcible eviction methods of private companies from the forest land, in the disguise of restoration of land to tribals, the so-called ‘real’ owners.

The forest land, however, had been sold off by the non-tribals owners to private companies.

Protesting the ownership of private companies on the forest land, members of Chasi Mulia Sangh (CMS), a newly created and a ‘pro-tribal group’, has forcibly occupied 300 acres of the land in Bandhugaon Block of the district.

They also fell down several teak trees planted by the private company.

The step has once again displayed how this Maoist-backed group is gaining popularity and establishing its hold among tribals day-by-day.

“This land belongs to the tribals. The non-tribals have acquired it and sold them to the company owners. These 300 acres of land is in Bandhugaon block. We chopped off all the plants and distributed it among the tribals and non-tribals,” said Kendu Kurjan, a functionary of Chasi Mulia Sangh.

Chasi Mulia Sangh, which was previously compelling the non-tribals to leave their houses and vacate this area for tribals, has taken a quantum leap with the latest occupation of land.

Also, earlier, the members of the CMS were involved in acquiring lands from the non-tribals and distributing it among tribals, which according to the group are the ‘real’ owners.

This time the members of the CMS have began to target private companies that purchased the lands to set up industries here.

In the latest incident, the 300-acres of land, which was under a Govt. plantation programme and was sold off to the STM company, has been taken over from its owners and distributed among tribals and nob-tribals.

The forcible eviction or occupying of the land in this area has created a sense of unease and fear among the mulit-national companies who inted to invest in poverty-stricken Orissa and set up industries here.

Meanwhile, the government is trying to restore the tribals by providing them their land as per law. Nearly 500 acres of land has been restored and the process is further on.

“In 2006, directions had been given from the government to the concerned officers to find out if any tribal had not given declaration in that case to restore the land and give it to the tribals. Now we are very active, nearly 500 acres of land has been restored. Now we are putting special officers in that area who will restore the tribal land from the non tribals,” said S N Patro, Revenue Minister of Orissa.

But the tribals say it’s a tedious process and irritated by its slowness and thus resorting to extreme measures like occupying lands by force. By Sarada Lahangir (ANI)

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