29 Years on, Rehab Steps Elude Similipal Tribals

BALASORE: Belying the State Government’s claim of rehabilitating the tribal families displaced from Similipal Biosphere Reserve, 67 families of Jamunagarh village under Jashipur police limits of Mayurbhanj district are yet to get the assistance promised to them during displacement.
Sources said more than 100 families of Jamunagarh were forcibly evicted when Project Tiger came up in 1985. Though a few families were rehabilitated, 67 families have not received compensation for the last 29 years.
The tribals, mostly hailing from Kolha, Khadia, Patra and Mankidia communities, claimed that they were deprived of their rights though their forefathers were original owners of the land. The land was given to them by the then ruler of Mayurbhanj State.
President of Similipal Bisthapan Mancha Sushil Patra said though nearly three decades have passed since the displacement, the district administration is yet to complete the survey and identify the affected families. The project officials had even placed the funds to rehabilitate the affected families during the displacement, he added.
Meanwhile, the families are leading a nomadic life. While some of them are staying in makeshift tents on forest land of Manada, others are residing in small huts in Kapand. The families do not have BPL cards and are deprived of all poverty alleviation schemes of the Government, Patra rued.
Despite repeated missives, no step has been taken by the authorities to rehabilitate the displaced tribals who are running from pillar to post to protect their rights. They are forced to eke out a living by selling firewood in the local market, Patra added.
He said two years back, he had moved the State Lokpal on the matter who in turn had directed the district administration to inquire into the allegations and do the needful. In 2013, the tribal families had met Chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Dr Rameshwar Oraon and apprised him of the issue. Subsequently, a report was submitted to the Collector by the Sub-Collector in November 2013 recommending proper rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced tribals.
Following the report, the Collector had asked the local Tehsildar to take necessary steps for rehabilitation of the tribals on December 29, 2013. The order of the Collector is yet to be carried out, Patra claimed.
The district administration should provide assistance to the displaced families as per Government norms immediately, he demanded.

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Author: madhubaganiar

Madhubaganiar loves to write on social issues especially for downtrodden segment of Indian society.

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