A new danger awaits the rural areas under the influence of the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). If a recent Maharashtra government notification, a copy which is with Counterview, is any indication, it empowers the state government to acquire tribal land for industrial development without seeking any gram sabha nod.
Apprehensions have gone strong, similar notifications may be issued by Gujarat and Rajasthan governments, undermining tribals’ forest rights under existing laws, including the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, which make consultation with tribal gram sabhas mandatory.
Despite opposition from the locals, the Maharashtra government has diverted 460 hectares of tribal land in Palghar for industrial activity. The land, now set aside for the development of industries, is a part of the 2,766 hectares it had acquired from tribal families in the early 1960s for a dairy project for supplying milk to Mumbai. But as the project never took off, most of the land has remained unutilised.
While the tribal families belonging to hamlets in Palghar’s Dahanu and Talasari talukas, whose lands were acquired, have been opposing industrialisation of the lands, the state’s Dairies Development department, which is in possession of the land, issued orders on November 24, notifying that 460-hectare land was now being handed over to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. “The development of industries in the (tribal district) of Palghar will benefit the local population and result in all-round growth of the region,” states the government resolution, signed by Ashok Uike, deputy secretary (Dairy Development).
Courtesy: The New Indian Express
The Advocate General (AG) Wednesday informed the Bombay High Court that substantial progress has been made in terms of tackling the issue of continued death of children due to malnutrition in tribal areas. A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, was hearing Public Interest Litigations (PIL), highlighting the rising cases of malnutrition-related deaths and illnesses among those living in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas in Maharashtra.
“Various posts have been filed. We have made a chart to show compliance of various court orders by the state,” said the AG, A Kumbhakoni. Taking into consideration this statement, the court has now granted two weeks to the state to place on record all details pertaining to this issue. The court reminded the state on the “seriousness” of the issue and asked the government “to do something” to improve the situation. The Chief Justice has ordered that all the PILs pertaining to this issue be transferred to a special bench to ensure better monitoring by the court.
Courtesy: The Indian Express
Nashik: As many as 19,810 applications from tribals, both individual and groups, are still pending approval of the district Forest Rights Act (FRA) committee.
The panel is headed by the officer at the level of additional district collector. Many of these applications are struck at various levels before they are forwarded to the FRA panel for approval.
Other than this, there are 765 other cases where although the nod has been given by the panel, they are awaiting signatures of the competent authority before it could be presented to the applicants.
Courtesy: The Times of India
To establish a context, the fight for land rights of Dalit farmers began under the leadership of the late Eknath Awad, one of India’s most respected Dalit leaders, across eight districts of Maharashtra including Jalna, Aurangabad, Latur, and Beed. Kantabai Ichake, a septuagenarian from Marathwada, has now emerged as one of the leading voices at the forefront of the land rights movement.
Kantabai recalls how Dalit women across Marathwada were mocked by most villagers when they got together and asked for the barren common grazing land in the village because they want to cultivate it. “You will bang your heads on the rocky land and die they said,”
Courtesy: The Better India