Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Orissa chalks out plan to protect tribal rights over land

Bhubaneswar (PTI): Worried over tribal upsurge in different parts of the State, Orissa government on Wednesday decided to strictly enforce laws under land reform act and laws relating to scheduled area, official sources said.

The government's hurried action to give justice to the tribal population came in the wake of violence at Narayanpatna in Koraput district.

Realising that Maoist ultras were trying to take advantage from tribal unrest, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the officials to ensure that not an inch of tribal land illegally remained in possession of non-tribals.

Tribals across the state, mostly in schedule areas, had been agitating for a long time alleging that their lands were fraudulently taken away by non-tribals while the law prohibited transfer of tribal land to non-tribals in scheduled areas.

The tribals had, meanwhile, staged rallies and agitation in Koraput, Bolangir and Rayagada demanding return of their land allegedly in illegal possession of non-tribals.

"The government has decided to provide legal assistance to tribals who are unable to file cases against alleged land encroacher's," said Revenue minister S N Patro after a high level meeting chaired by Patnaik.

The government would launch an awareness drive to sensitise tribals regarding their land rights, Patro said adding all vacant posts in tehsil and revenue inspector's office would be filled on priority.

The government would also launch an awareness drive to sensitise tribals regarding their land rights, Patro said, adding that all vacant posts in tehsil and revenue inspector's office would be filled on priority.

This apart, the sub-collectors in tribal dominated districts would hear land related cases as the Orissa Administrative Service (OAS) officers would be appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).

The government had also decided to remove hurdles in providing land rights to forest dwellers by making amendments in Orissa Scheduled Tribe and Traditional Dwellers Act, 2006.

"About 20,000 tribals would be benefited from the modified Act," Patro said, adding that chief minister would regularly monitor implementation of decisions.

No comments: