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Updated: April 10, 2013 04:41 IST

Union Minister asks Governors to cancel mining leases in Agency areas

Special Correspondent
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The Hindu
"Extremism is growing in Schedule V areas due to neglect by the people in power" said V. Kishore Chandra Deo Union Minister for Tribal Affairs

Governors can repeal or amend any law when peace is disturbed: Kishore Chandra Deo

Unrelenting in his battle against destruction of tribal habitations for exploitation of forestland and resources, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs V. Kishore Chandra Deo has written letters to Governors of various States asking them to cancel mining leases in the Agency areas.

Noting with alarm the growth of extremism in Schedule V areas, the Union Minister said that this was due to the neglect of these areas by the people in power, who are mostly from urban areas. The growth of extremism was due to the fact that in some parts of Schedule V areas there was no governance at all, he said in his letter. The Governors had powers to repeal or amend any Act of Parliament or the legislature of the State or any existing law when good governance or peace is disturbed due to issues related either with land or money-lending, Mr. Deo noted. The Governor can invoke his or her power and forward it to President for ratification.

He took the opportunity to launch a scathing attack on Andhra Pradesh government for not cancelling the lease for mining bauxite in Agency areas “…where higher echelons of powers are themselves trying to brazenly distort not only the laws but constitutional safeguards against the interests of tribals and other dwellers in forest areas.”

Mr. Kishore Chandra Deo said that in many cases, the State governments had facilitated signing of MoUs with non-tribal entities for carrying out mining in Schedule V areas which has led to upsurge of extremism and resultant law and order problems.

He urged the Governors to cancel such MoUs as they were mere arrangements between two parties and are not enactments of legislatures or Parliament.

The Union Minister called upon the Governors to invoke their powers under Art 244 read with provisions of Schedule V to ensure good governance, securing the rights of STs and forest dwellers who are the most marginalised sections of society.

The Statement made by Hon,ble union Tribal Affairs Minister has raised a valid issue which needs to be addressed within Indian Constitutional Framework. Not only in AP, but other Indian States, particularly the areas which are comes under the Article 274(I) of the Indian Constitution and Declared as Scheduled Areas under 5th and 6th schedule of Indian Constitution, rampant mining activities has disturbed the Livelihood system of Tribal People.Further, under the provisions of Panchayats(Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, powers have been given to the Gram Panchayats and Gram Sabhas on managing natural resources and giving license for mining activities. So in this context, honourable minister should also needs to focus on the implementation of the PESA Act apart from asking Governors for their intervention on mining issues.

from:  Bishnu Prasad Mohapatra
Posted on: Apr 10, 2013 at 16:00 IST
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