NEW DELHI: A significant number of people belonging to the scheduled tribe community continue to be affected by land acquisition and land grabbing in Chattisgarh, the fact came to light during an ongoing visit of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to the state.
The other major causes that have been flagged by tribal people during the Commission’s visit are access to water in remote tribal areas and high-scale unemployment.
The Commission has visited villages in Dantewada, Jagdalpur and Kanker. The NCST visited villages affected due to land acquisition and met affected scheduled tribe families who were displaced.
“Several families who are scheduled tribes reported about how they have been affected by land acquisition and how their lands continue to be grabbed. The villages also reported high scale of unemployment,” said Nand Kumar Sai, NCST chairperson.
“The review shows STs were affected by poor educational level. However, this is not specific to Chattisgarh but in several parts of the country. Powers that gram panchayats should enjoy under the PESA are still limited which poses a major problem,” said Sai.
Under the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), the rights given to gram panchayats include mandatory consultation in land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced persons.
The fifth schedule areas in 10 states to where PESA applies are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana.