BERHAMPUR: The tribals of 11 villages of Jiranga and Labarsingh blocks in Gajapati district have demanded cancellation of the land lease of Tibetan refugees, settled in five camps in Mohana and Ramgiri-Udayagiri tehsils.
In the 1960s, the State Government had leased around 2,250-acre land for resettlement of nearly 2,500 Tibetan refugees. The allotment was done to help the Tibetan refugees by ensuring sustainable livelihood for them.
In 1963, the Phuntsokling Tibetan settlement, Odisha, was officially established. The State Government’s intention was for the land lease to be extended every 10 to 20 years, providing the farmers with leased record of rights, that established their lawful possession of the land.
In 2008, when the Tibetans attempted to renew the lease, their presence was challenged by some people who accused the refugees of illegally encroaching upon the land. They asked the local authorities not to extend the land lease ‘patta’ to individual farmers.
On April 30, 2013 temporary land lease ‘pattas’ were issued to all the farmers in the settlement. However, ‘pattas’ for the community and reserve land are yet to be issued, sources said.“The number of Tibetan residents has gone up and this has created problems for tribals residing in the adjoining areas. We would resort to agitation if the State Government renews the lease of Tibetan residents,” warned members of Adivasi Adhikar Manch.