Odisha: “Banayana” project lunched by Govt. of Odisha is Anti-Tribal and Anti-FRA: CSD

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Bhubaneswar: The State Chapter Forest Rights Campaign, Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD), Odisha which struggled for the enactment of Forest Rights Act, 2006 in a Press Release today avowed the launching of “Banayana” project by Naveen Patnaik Govt. as anti-tribal and anti-FRA in the State.

CSD has alleged that “Banayana” and “Ama Jungle Yojana” is the brain child of the Forest Bureaucracy who were seriously hurt after the enactment of historic forest rights act, 2006 in the country and want to keep its land lordship over forest even after enactment and implementation of FRA. CSD said “Banayana” and “Ama Jungle Yojana” not only openly violate FRA, 2006 but also violate the Central PESA, 1996 in the scheduled area.

It is to be noted that Naveen Patnaik along with its forest Minister and Forest Secretary on last 27th April lunched “Banayana” project and informed the media that “Banayana” project would be implemented in 14 Forest and Wildlife Divisions of the state, covering 10 districts, with the active participation of 12,000 Vana Surakshya Samitis (VSSs) at an outlay of Rs.1,000 crore for a period of 10 years supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA).

CSD has condemned the Govt. for ignoring authority of the Gram Sabha and its executive committee formed or to be formed under Section 4(1)(e) of Forest Rights Rules, 2007 in these “Banayana” and “Ama Jungle Yojana” and has demanded direct flow of the forest protection and management fund to the Gram Sabha or its Executive Committee at the village level.

CSD has also questioned the Odisha’s Govt.’s conscience and said that if the Govt. do not refrained itself from launching such anti-FRA and anti-tribal policies and programmes in the State, it cannot effectively deal with the growing outlawed anti-democratic forces across the State. CSD has also questioned the JICA loan taken for the project by the Govt. of Odisha and opined that when the State Govt. is going to be the beneficiary of the highest amount, approximately 6000/- crores of the total 42,000 crore CAMPA Fund pending at Centre, why the Govt. of Odisha wants to over burden the loan amount upon the people of Odisha.

Reiterating its demand to dissolve VSS, CSD said that if the Govt. do not dissolve it, the community people though its Gram Sabha Sarkar have already started dissolving VSS. “While the VSS have been formed in the name of Gram Sabha, in reality, it is being controlled by the Forest bureaucracy who are mostly involved in mismanagement of fund in the ground. CSD also alleged that formation of VSS has also led to serious conflict within the villages.

Naming “Banayana” and “Ama Jungle Yojana” as “Forest bureaucracy programme”, CSD alleged that in fact the Govt. is being run by Bureaucracy and not by political leaders elected by the votes of the State. Pointing out “Forest Bureaucracy” as the main hurdles in the way of recognition of community rights over forest (CFR) in the State, CSD has demanded immediate transfer of the IFS officer(R.Raghu Prashad) from the FRA desk in the State.

Raising serious concern over the “Banayana” project lunched by Govt. Odisha, members of CSD, Odisha met with Jual Oram, the Minister, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India at his residence in Bhubaneswar on 30th April and handed over him two petitions (One on the “Banayana Project” and another on illegal NTCA Oder banning recognition of forest rights in Tiger Reserves.

CSD has urged the Tribal Minister to direct the Govt. of Odisha to halt the anti-tribal and anti-FRA “Banayana” and “Ama Jungle Yojana” halting formation of VSS in forest fringe villages in the State.

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