More than 700 tribals from adjacent gram panchayats (GPs) of Rourkela city on Monday took out a rally opposing the demand for corporation tag to Rourkela Municipality.
Instead, they demanded implementation of the Provisions of Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act and formation of Autonomous District Council for administrative control in urban and rural areas.
The tribal-dominated Sundargarh district is a declared Schedule Area and the Supreme Court has recently dismissed a writ petition seeking abolition of four urban local bodies (ULBs) in the district.
Two separate sets of memorandum were also sent to Governor SC Jamir by the Sundargarh Zilla Adivasi Bachao Manch (SZABM) and Jharkhand Party (JP).
The SZABM contended that the corporation status would deprive tribal people of their constitutional rights and also lead to large scale tribal displacement. The Manch pointed out that Forest Rights Act, 2006 would be rendered invalid in urban areas. Going a step ahead, the JP described the corporation move as illegal, unconstitutional and lacked basis. The JP claimed that formation of corporation would impose multiple local taxes and land ceiling on poor tribal people of eight contiguous GPs of Bisra, Lathikata and Rajgangpur blocks.
Among others, Rajgangpur MLA of Congress Gregory Minz, former JMM MLAs Nihar Surin, Halu Mundari and Mansid Ekka, Lathikata-B Zilla Parishad member Sunita Kisan, district unit JP president Issac Tigga and Manch secretary Pramod Ekka addressed the gathering in front of the office of Rourkela ADM RN Mishra.
Asked about the contempt of the apex court, Congress MLA Gregory Minz said his only demand was not to include the GPs in the proposed corporation. Sundargarh Collector Bhupinder Singh Punia said an appropriate report would be sent to the Government.