Fact-finding Report on Rehabilitation of Khadia Primitive Tribal Groups after relocation from Similipal Tiger Reserve Area of Mayurbhanj district, Odisha
The Similipal sanctuary was declared on 6th August 1980s having 303 Sq km area and later on more 547.70 sq km area was added to it in June 1986. On 4th December 1973 the Similipal Sanctuary was declared as Tiger reserve under ‘Project Tiger’ Scheme of Government of India. But It was conferred with tiger reserve status as per provisions of Section 38V of Wildlife (Conservation) Act, 1972 vide notification no. 8F(T)-9/2007/20801/ F&E dt.31st December, 2007 by Forest & Environment Department, Govt. of Orissa. As per the notification , the critical tiger Habitat of Similipal Tiger spread over an area of 2750 km including 1194.75 km core area and 1555.25 km²buffer area.In the year 1994 the Similipal Sanctuary was declared as Biosphere.
There are 65 villages situated inside the Sanctuary area of which 61 villages are in the buffer area and rest 4 villages are in core area. There are 3 GPs inside Similipal, viz. Gudugudia, Barheipani and Astakumar. The villages inside the core area of the Sanctuary are Bakua, Jenabil, Kabatghai and Jamunagarh. The wildlife authority has been rehabilitating the community people from last 1996. In the year 1996, for the first time, 11 khadia tribal families and 30 tribal families of Kabatghai village were rehabilitated in the village Banabasa near Kaanda of the Jassipur Block of the Mayurbhaja district. In April, 2010 again 52 families of Jenabil village were rehabilitated in Ambadiha village in second phage. In the third phage, in Dec, 2013, people living in the village Bahaghara and UaraBarakamunda located in the core area of STR were rehabilitated at village AsanKudar of the Thakurmunda Block. Very recently again 35 families from the village Jamunagah have been rehabilitated in Nabara village in Udala Tahasil on 9th Sept. 2015.
While no rights under FRA were settled of those relocated before 2014, one Individual forest rights titles and CFR rights in both annexure III and IV have been issued over 3981.44 acres of forest land to Jamunagarh village before relocation.
In all the relocation done While the relocated families wanted second option for relocation (cultivable land against relocation), the district administration insisted and compelled them to choose 1st option of ten lakh rupees.
Similipal Bio-sphere regionis the abode of a number of Primitive Tribal Groups (PTG) like Mankadia, Khadia etc. From time immemorial, their life, livelihood, culture, religious belief evolves around forest. But the declaration of Similipal Tiger core reserve area by the Govt. posed serious challenge to their existence and survival in this region. In the name of conservation of forest and protection of tiger, the Forest Officials imposed a number of restrictions on their free movement , collection of Non-Timber Forest Products, rearing of domestic animals with intention to drive them out from that area. Finding their close proximity with forest and love for nature, the Forest Department decided to relocate tribals from core area and rehabilitate in some other places.
As first step in this direction, total number of 34 families of Khadia PTG of Barakamuda and Bahaghara village residing in core area of Similipal Bio-sphere were relocated and rehabilitated in Asankudar village which comes under Hatigada Gram Panchayat of Thakurmunda block of Mayurbhanj district in December 2013. The Mass Media has reported the tall claim of District Collector the said rehabilitation as Model one in Odisha and covered positive news presenting details of rehabilitation package for the tribals and sustainable livelihood ensured to them.
Right to Food Campaign, Odisha, a Network working on food security issues of the poor, vulnerable section of the society decided to visit the said village to see the genuineness of claim of Collector , socio-economic condition of the tribals, their vulnerability, standard of living, Govt. support , their access to food under various food security programme etc. The members of the Campaign are also aware about opposition by Civil Rights Activists about this relocation of tribals from their hinterland.
2. Visit of the Team
A 3-member Team consisting of PradipPradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha, Sri Sachikant Pradhan, Social activist and Sri Dhaneswar Mohanta, Para legal Volunteer visited Asankudar village on 26.9.15.The village is located in hill top surrounded by forest. The said is about 10 kms from Thakurmunda Block Headquarter, 40 kms from Karanjia sub-divisional headquarter and 110 km from District headquarter. A small Cement Concrete road leads to this village. The Team reached at 12 o’clock and found few people moving hither and thither. However, within few minutes the villagers gathered and the Team members appraised the people about the purpose of the visit.
After self-introduction, two villagers Bhagaban Dehuri, Phagunia Dehuri and Basanti Singha, Anganwadi Worker responded the queries, while others stood contributing to the discussion occasionally. The excerpts of the discussion with the tribals are as follows.
The Forest Department relocated total number of 34 tribal families ( 126 family members) from Similipal reserve forest in December 2013 and brought them in a truck with their bag and baggage except goat to Asankudar village. They werekept in polythene tented temporary shelter for months together whichare stillvisible in the village. Then the District Administration allotted each family house underIndira Awas Yojana. A Contractor was engaged to construct the house which was allotted to them just 8 to 10 months back.
On query about anyland allotted to them, the villagers said and showed that each family had been allotted homestead Patta land measuring o.10 dcml. While verifying onepatta issued by Tahasildar, Thakurmunda, it was found that a piece of land of 0.10 dcml. bearing plot no. 649 of Khata No. 124 ( VLC case No. 1099/2012) has been deducted and the said land cannot be transferred within 10 years without permission of Govt.
Each family has also been given a cheque of Rs. 10 lakh as rehabilitation package. The said amount has been deposited in their Bank account opened in Bank of India, Thakurmunda Branch. The Team members inspected their Bank Pass Book and found that many family have made fixed deposit of Rs. 8.50 lakh or Rs. 7.50 lakh in their account and surviving with the interest amount drawn from the Bank ( around Rs. 4,000.00 to Rs. 5,000.00 per month). It was also reported by the villagers that two tribal woman Rukuni Dehuri and Mukta Dehuri have not got Rs. 10 lakh till yet and battling to survive without any avenues.
3. Status of food Security Programme
A. Antodaya Anna Yojana
Each family is being given 35 kg of rice under Antodaya Anna Yojana. But it was also found that five villagers like NarsinghDehuri, BhanuDehuri, KauDehuri, MahiramDehuri and PadanaDehuri are yet to get rice under this scheme. Though they have approached the authority several times, no step has been taken in this regard. It is worth to mention here that the Supreme Court has given direction to all the state Govt. to provide 35 kg of rice to all Primitive Tribal Communities while hearing the case ( W.P.C. 196/2001). The deprivation of the five families to get rice under AAY is the violation of Supreme Court direction.
B. Distribution of Kerosene under PDS
Each family is entitled to get 4 litre of kerosene under Public Distribution System. But it was found that the dealer has not provided kerosene since last 3 months. However only 3 litre of kerosene is provided to them per month.
All the villagers reported to the team that they have not got any work under NREGA since last one year.
D. ICDS programme
One Aganwadi Centre has been opened inthe village. Smt. BasantiSingha, a tribal has been appointed as Anganwadi Worker. She was found quite active and managing centre well and giving morningsnacks andmeal tothe children. During discussion, the Pregnant and lactating woman expressed their satisfaction of getting two packets of Chhatua and 8eggs every month. The Team did not find any complaint against her. Butthe Anganwadi Worker reported of 4 numbers of children being suffered from malnutrition. They are RaibariDehuri ( one year 10 months old ), PadminiDehuri ( 2 years and 4 months old ) etc. On query about these children not being referred to Hospital or Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), she said that despite her persuasion, the parents did not take their children for treatment. The Team inspected the building of AWC which is under construction. But the room of the building is very small which is not as per the plan of the design of the building given by Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Odisha. The Team members also met Project Administrator, ITDA, Karanjia at his residence and appraised him about the building requested him to take necessary step in this regard.
4. Source of livelihood
No family has been allotted a single land by the District Administration for agriculture. The Tribal are also asked by the Forest Dept not to enter forest to collect Jhuna and honey which is considered as source of their livelihood. No employment programme has been undertaken to provide employment to the tribal in their village. The District Administration has not given any loan to the villagers for goat rearing or any kind of employment generating activity.
But still they are surviving. 35 kg rice under AAY and interest money of Rs. 4,000.00 to Rs. 5,000.00 obtained from fixed Bank deposit constitutes their source of livelihood. Though they have taken lease of land for agriculture from other people, it does not give them much benefit. It was found that they are just surviving from hand to mouth.
A. Sanitation is very bad in the village.
B. Each villager consumes liquor which was noticed during interaction with the villagers
Concerns and Recommendations
1. The Team does not agree with the claim of the Collector, Mayurbhanj as Model rehabilitation of Tribals in Odisha. The homestead land measuring 0.10 dcml. allotted to each family has not been demarcated by Tahasildar. The tribals are seen still unaware which portion of land is under their subjugation. So, the Tahasildar, Thakurmuda should take prompt action to demarcate and identify the land and had over it to them accordingly.
2. The District Administration has failed to provide rice to five families under Antodaya Anna Yojana which is the violation of directives of Supreme Court. So it is recommended that the District Collector should visit the village immediately and enquire into the allegation and distribute AAY card immediately.
3. Agriculture is considered as major source of livelihood of the tribals in the present day. But the Govt. Has not given a single acre of agricultural land to the tribals. How long the tribal will survive on interest amount and rice under AAY. Is it a standard livelihood package of Govt. that a tribal will live with dignity as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. So the team recommends to the Govt. to provide at least 5 Acres of agricultural land to each household.
4. The building under construction for Anganwadi Centre is substandard and not suitable for the children. The District Collector should depute technical expert to enquire into it and take action accordingly. So that it can be a Model Centre for all.
5. Though NREGA is enacted to provide employment to Rural Household, it is not being implemented in this village since last two years. The State Govt. Should organise awareness programme on NREGA and undertake NREGA work to provide employment to the poor tribals.
6. It was also reported by the villagers that two tribal woman Rukuni Dehuri and Mukta Dehuri have not got Rs. 10 lakh till yet and battling to survive without any avenues. So the amount which is for these two women should be provided immediately.
7. As these families got the entitlement of community forest rights but the forest Dept. restricted them to collect Minor Forest Produces.
Report prepared by
Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Right to Food Campaign, OdishaM-9937843482