Mock Letter: An Appeal Favoring Peoples Right Over Natural ResourcesPublished by MAC on 2003-10-15
Source: Ekta Parishad ()
The Honorable Shri. M.M. Rajendran,
Government of Orissa,
Raj Bhavan, Orisssa.
Fax No: (0674) 2536582, 2536581, 2536584
The Caretaker Government,
Government of Orissa,
At- Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, P.O.-Bhubaneswar,
Dist.-Khurda Pin -751001(Orissa)
Fax: (0674) 2535100
Subject: An Appeal Favoring Peoples Right over Natural Resources
We have heard from our friends of Ekta Parishad, India that the situation of landlessness in the state of Orissa has become an urgent matter. As a result Ekta Parishad is launching a month long yatra from 30th January to February 24th, 2004 that will extend from Urladani, Kalahandi through 7 districts and culminates at the capital city, Bhubaneswar. We are in solidarity with this action.
We would like to draw your immediate attention to the following pertinent issues:
- The landlessness and tribal land alienation in Kalahandi;
- Tribal land regularization in forestlands and stopping displacement in and around the Barbara forest area of Ganjam district;
- The land and livelihood rights of fishing communities in Chilka Lake area in coastal Orissa; and
- Awareness among women of the importance of joint/or community land title.
In addition, there are several industries in the state that have acquired much land and there is at the same time high levels of landlessness. To add insult to there is no rehabilitation policy that can regulate compensations. Many small and marginalized farmers have been forcefully evicted from their land. This has resulted in severe migration, unemployment, bonded laborers, poverty and other related problems.
Illegal felling of trees and mining has been reported many times and is seen as something that is pursued vigorously without sufficient regulation by the State. This has led to many human rights advocates to study the problem of repression. So many people of Orissa are still largely land and forest dependent and they are suffering at the hands of mafias, and the forest department, which are involved in illegally removing the forest resources. Administrative officials are not helping the people to check these misdemeanors.
As of concern, we request your government to take stronger measure for:
- Revive existing land distribution programs;
- Regularize the rights of tribals to the forest areas (especially those living there before 1980);
- Provide agricultural inputs that enable the small farmer to maintain land resources; and
- Actively implement joint title for women.
Thanking you in advance for your attention in this matter.
[For further reading: (Ed) Siddarth Varajaradan "Gujerat: the making of a tragedy", Penguin India, 2002; "Threatened Existence: A Feminist anlaysis of the Gencoide in Gujerat" published by The Initiative for Justice in Gujerat, 2003]