Roadmap for reconsideration of rejected claims under FRA sought

The Hindu | Visakhapatnam | June 18, 2019

‘74,364 pleas on individual rights over 1.38 lakh acres rejected in State’

A roundtable organised by Girijana Sangham affiliated to Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch on Monday demanded that a roadmap for reconsidering the rejected claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) be announced by the government and no girijan be displaced.

Participating in the programme, former bureaucrat E.A.S. Sarma said the schedule should be announced and the rejected applications should be undertaken by grama sabhas again.

The Supreme Court has stayed its order on eviction of tribals whose applications under FRA were rejected in 21 States after the Centre filed an affidavit facing vehement opposition from tribal people and rights activists.

‘Norms violated’

“It is unfortunate that responsibility to implement the FRA was handed over to the Forest Department even as the Tribal Welfare Department is the nodal agency for it. The implementation of the Supreme Court order would result in eviction of 23 lakh girijans in the country,” Mr. Sarma said.

Citing the provision of the FRA, advocate Palla Trinadha Rao pointed out that none should be evicted until the process of finalising the rights of tribal people was decided. “If at all the claims are rejected by the district-level committee in 60 days of filing of applications, notice should be issued. However, the due process was not followed and there is no scope for appeal too,” he said.

Presiding over the round table, Girijana Sangham State general secretary P. Appala Narsa said that going by the affidavits filed, 74,364 claims on individual rights over 1.38 lakh acres and 2,458 claims for community rights over 1.62 lakh acres were rejected in Andhra Pradesh.

‘Raw deal for girijans’

“The rejections were made in the name of bauxite mining, Polavaram project, reserved forest and ‘Vana Samrakshana Samitis. The girijans have been meted out a raw deal. All girijans doing ‘podu’ (shifting) cultivation should be given rights over the land and a schedule for it should be announced,” he said.

Girijan Employees Association district president Korabu Satyanarayana, former president Olesi Ramalingam, Kunja Nageswara Rao and Girjana Sangham president Matham Rajubabu were among those who spoke on the occasion.