Jual Oram's third term as Odisha Union Minister sparks renewed hope for Sundargarh Tribals

The union minister assured them of resolving all pending claims of the displaced tribal persons immediately, rekindling hopes for an end to their prolonged suffering.
MP Jual Oram as Union Minister
MP Jual Oram as Union MinisterFile Photo

ROURKELA : The reappointment of Sundargarh MP Jual Oram as Union Minister for Tribal Affairs (MTA) for a third term has reignited hope among the tribal displaced persons of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) of SAIL for the expeditious resolution of their long-pending Rehabilitation & Resettlement (R&R) claims.

During Jual’s second term as MTA, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) was active. However, there has been no visible action on the implementation of NCST’s recommendations.

On Sunday, a delegation from the RSP & Marshalling Yard Displaced Persons’ Committee (RSP&MYDPC), including vice-president Mangra Oram and legal advisor Gobinda Tanty, met Jual in Rourkela.

Lachhu Oram, representing the committee, stated that they demanded jobs for 163 people verified by the Sundargarh district administration during 2009-10.

The union minister assured them of resolving all pending claims of the displaced tribal persons immediately, rekindling hopes for an end to their prolonged suffering.

Previously, after Jual’s second appointment as MTA in 2014, the NCST began hearing the claims of tribal displaced persons from February 2016 onwards, holding multiple sessions with top authorities from the Odisha government, SAIL, and RSP over the next three years. In July 2019, the NCST approved a Special Report and presented it to then-president Ram Nath Kovind in February 2020.

The special report highlighted issues such as the failure to provide alternative agricultural land to all displaced families, allocation of agriculturally unfit land far from residential areas, and delays in issuing Records of Rights (RoR) and providing basic amenities in resettlement colonies.

The NCST recommended action against individuals falsely claiming to be displaced persons to secure jobs, ensuring employment for left-out tribal land oustees, and returning unused surplus land of 4,514.62 acre surrendered by RSP to the original tribal owners.

In May 2022, the additional chief secretary (ACS) of the Revenue & Disaster Management department visited Rourkela to discuss the implementation of NCST’s recommendations with RSP and the district administration.

In September 2022, a delegation from the RSP & MYDPC also met President of India Droupadi Murmu regarding the same issues, but no progress has been made to ensure justice for the displaced tribals, lamented Lachhu Oram.

Tribals’ R&R trouble

  • After being ousted, demand made for jobs to 163 people

  • It was verified by Sundargarh administration during 2009-10.

  • The NCST began hearing claims of tribal displaced persons from February 2016

  • In July 2019, the NCST approved a Special Report

  • The report presented to then-president Ram Nath Kovind in February 2020.

  • In September 2022, a delegation met President of India Droupadi Murmu

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