NCSD writes Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik to allow KL Business to six Gram Sabhas of Kalahndi District

Bhubaneswar : National Campaign for Survival and Dignity(NCSD) has urged Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha to allow six Gram Sabha to resume KL Business.. In its letter sent on 13th August 2017 to Naveen Patnaik, CSD has alleged that the forest officials of Kendu Leaf wings have violated Forest Rights Act, 2006 by interfering the six gram sabhas seeking to trade in kendu leaves.
It is to be noted that after getting community forest rights under FRA, 2006, six villages i.e., Kalipur, Kanakpur, Kasturapadar, Jamjharan, Jamgudabahali and Khasiguda (all in Golamunda block) of Kalahandi district collected Kendu Leaves(KL) started kendu leaf collection in the first week of May 2017 and contacted a KL Businessman from Maharashtra and did a business contract but forest officials in the district obstructed their business activities and refused to allow them to sell their produce saying that the kendu trade is nationalised in the state. The Forest Department officials also threatened the Maharashtra Businessman who had done a business contact with the six gram sabhas. As a result in the mid of the business he left the KL leaves and the villagers have been running pillar to post to dispose the KL. They approached all Govt. Officials including district collector, forest secretary, and SC ST Minister but failed.
In its letter sent, CSD has apprised the CM that “the position of the forest officials flies in the face of law and their actions are criminal offences under the Forest Rights Act as well as under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.”
Referring 3rd July letter sent by Jual Oram, Minister, Ministry of Tribal Affairs to Naveen Patnaik to resolve the issue of six villages, the Forest Rights Campaign has reminded him that “he had thanked the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Jual Oram for this.” CSD has further questioned that despite Jual Oram letter and Naveen Patnaik assurance, till date the forest officials of the area continue to maintain their stand and have not allowed the six gram sabhas to resumes their KL business. CSD has also raised before the Odisha CM that “the Forest Department(FD) of Govt. of Odisha has ignored the 22nd July letter vide No. 13125 sent by ST Department of the same Govt. in which the ST Department has clearly mentioned of violation of FRA, 2006 committed by Kalahandi Forest Official(KL) by obstructing KL business carried out by the six Gram Sabhas and has asked the FD to allow them to do KL business.
“In light of the requirements of law in this situation, and given your own stated position on the issue, we call upon your government to immediately direct the Forest Department to halt its illegal obstruction of the rights of these six villages. If this is not done soon, these villages will lose lakhs of rupees worth of revenue this year. We hope that you will take swift action to ensure that your government does not inflict such a huge loss on these very poor communities”, CSD held.
It is to be noted that NCSD is the a national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers’ organisations from eleven States, and are closely involved in the struggle for the enactment and enforcement of the Forest Rights Act of 2006.

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