Sunday, November 06, 2011

Struggle against deforestation: NHRC issues notice to Principal Secretary

BHOPAL – In a significant move, National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to Principal Secretary (General Administration) of Madhya Pradesh government regarding axing of Mahua trees in Rewa district and hence causing threat to the livelihood of more than 1000 tribal families. NHRC has sought the response within four weeks of time.

Earlier, it was reported in the section of media that the land acquisition for power projects in Madhya Pradesh is causing problems to more than one thousand Kol tribals in Dabhaura region in Rewa district.

Kol tribals are dependent on the jungles for their livelihood and two thermal power companies - Videocon Group and Nitin Thermal Power have bought about 3000 acres of land in the region leaving these tribals landless. Only two options left behind before the tribals were either to migrate or to face hunger.

Later the affected families observed indefinite hunger strike from June 20 against the administration and thermal power companies for their various demands.

Notably, more than a thousand Mahua trees were cut in Dabhaura tehsil of the district and about 10,000 more trees were targeted by the Videocon Group.

As there are very few tribal who own a land piece and most of them are dependent on the jungles, the move of axing Mahua trees had caused threat to the livelihood of these thousand landless tribals. Dozens of tribal families had refused to hand over their land to the companies.

Moreover, there was allegations of irregularity in distribution of compensation too, leading to the demand of investigation into the whole issue by the tribal leaders and some other organizations.

Other point of concern was that the medicinal plant—Fen which is the main sources of livelihood for these landless tribals and any act of deforestation and development would make them face serious consequences.

The villages facing problems with these power projects are- Dabharoa , Chipiya , Geduraha, Magadaur , Chunagee, Ataurai , Bhuvan , Khandu , Bichihar , Devpuja , Banjaria , Gonta , Mudfore and Sonadabhar.

Ironically, tribal minister Vijay Shah of Madhya Pradesh had declared that the year 2011 as Mahua year, which is seemingly on calendar, and nothing has been done to save to the Indian tropical tree.

An online litigation was filed by a human right activist, Lenin Raghuvanshi, in this regard.

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