‘50% of tribal lands in occupation of non-STs'
HYDERABAD: Fifty percent of land in tribal regions in state is occupied by non-tribal population in violation of the Tribal Reserve Forest Act but the government has not taken any action against it, said BN Yugandhar, former member of Planning Commission. Speaking at a one-day seminar on ‘Tribal Issues and Challenges in State’ conducted by Srimathi Chandramma Memorial Charitable Trust here on Saturday, he said, schedule tribes (STs) have been exploited by land sharks and private companies with the help of government.
Girglani Commission Report 2004-06 on the struggles and rights of Telangana STs revealed the exploitation of primitive tribes though figures and facts. “All political leaders, NGOs and activists who are representatives of STs have to go through the Girglani report and follow his recommendations,” he added. It is only through the efforts of these people that STs still have 50 per cent of their land left.
“But instead of safeguarding the schedule tribes’ land, the government is distributing it in Bhadrachalam, Khammam and Srikakulam districts,” he alleged.
In some tribal areas, problems arise when there are more than 50 per cent non-STs. Tribals should be given rights on their lands according to the ST Land Rights Act and rules must be made that forbid any non-ST from buying or encroaching on it.
Ch Vidyasagar Rao, former Union Home Minister and Trustee of SCMC Trust said he would recommend the government and NGOs to launch awareness programmes in nine districts where the ST population is more and to focus more on the primitive tribal groups.