Aliens in their own lands: When Chhattisgarh’s tribals were turned into encroachers

The Hindu || Jacob Koshy || April 6, 2019

In Chhattisgarh, the Forest Rights Act potentially allows 7.4 million tribal and other traditional forest dwellers to claim land rights. However, half these claims have been rejected and the land siphoned off, often arbitrarily. Jacob Koshy reports on the difficulties in implementing the Act and the plight of the Adivasis

Three years ago, Sunder Singh Kumeti, a Gond tribal, lost access to a parcel of land in the forest that he and his family had foraged for two generations. Before that, Kumeti recalls his work routine as being more or less the same everyday from boyhood. He would walk, along with his fellow villagers, several kilometres into the forest abutting his village looking for flowers from the mahua tree, or wood from the stout sal tree. His village, Patkalbeda, located in Antagarh panchayat of Kanker district in Chhattisgarh,is mostly forest area, though not classified as a reserve forest or a protected area. Read more

Seven decades after Independence, many in Odisha’s villages still drink contaminated water from pits

First Post || Manish Kumar || Mar 27, 2019

A large section of the rural populace of Keonjhar district in Odisha is struggling for access to a basic survival need.

A network of 60 reporters set off across India to test the idea of development as it is experienced on the ground. Their brief: Use your mobile phone to record the impact of 120 key policy decisions on everyday justify; what works, what doesn’t and why; what can be done better and what should be done differently. Their findings — straight and raw from the ground — will be combined in this series, Elections on the Go, over a course of 100 days.

Keonjhar: Seven decades of Independence and other progress notwithstanding, a large section of the rural populace of Keonjhar district in Odisha is struggling for access to a basic survival need — safe drinking water. To make matters worse, this Lok Sabha constituency, which has the maximum operational mines in the state, is also being ravaged by miners, who are minting money at the cost of natural resources. Read more

In an ancient land, a forest’s impending destruction threatens India’s future

Scroll.in || Samar Halarnkar || 24 March 2019

Opening Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand to mining will hasten the devastation of the Adivasi people and the country’s natural resources.

In the heart of India, there is a land called Gondwana. Geologists borrowed the name to provide an identity to Gondwana or Gondwanaland, a prehistoric supercontinent that gave birth to India before humans evolved. It is also a name derived from some of India’s most ancient people, a tribe called the Gonds. Read more

Australia Aboriginals win right to sue for colonial land loss

Alijazeera || by Bill Code || 15 Mar 2019

The ruling in favour of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali groups paves the way for billions of dollars in compensation.

Sydney, Australia – The High Court of Australia has handed down the biggest “native title” ruling affecting Aboriginal ownership of the land in decades, amid claims that billions of dollars in compensation will need to be paid by governments to indigenous groups.

“Native title” refers to the rights of Australia’s indigenous people to their traditional land and water recognised by Australian common law.

Lawyers, including those representing mining companies, said the ruling in favour of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Aboriginal groups – from a remote part of the Northern Territory – paved the way for billions of dollars in compensation nationally. Read more

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