NEW DELHI: Disadvantaged social groups, especially tribals, continue to be at the receiving end of the state’s agenda for development by acquiring land, according to a study. In the absence of the government maintaining any systemic database of the number of people displaced by projects which requires land acquisition, tribals continue to be alienated from forest lands which are essential to their livelihood, the report said.
Large-scale industrialistion for developing dams, irrigation projects, sanctuaries cost tribals their land, says a chapter “A Deferred Dream Land — Alienation of Scheduled Tribes in Postcolonial India” in the latest India Exclusion Report of the Centre for Equity Studies (CES). Tribals have been pushed towards marginalisation due to alienation from land, water and forest produce and other resources.
This despite state laws being in place to prevent sale or transfer of land from tribal to non-tribals. The report blamed individual alienation on sale, through force and benami transfers in the fifth schedule areas. The report cites an earlier CES report case study of Rajasthan to substantiate how loopholes in state laws, meant for the protection of land, was used by land buyers to the disadvantage of tribals. Poor implementation of the law, poverty and vested interests of law enforcers add to the woes of tribal communities, it said.
The report has made a set of recommendations for the alleviation of problems of the tribals in dealing with regard to ownership of lands. The role of the governor in the protection of tribes needs to be strengthened, the report recommends. While laws passed by the Assembly are not applicable to scheduled areas unless the governor approves it in the sixth schedule areas, the laws automatically apply in the fifth schedule areas unless the governor thinks it may harm the tribes, the report says.
The study has also advocated the need for state governments to create better land record management procedures.