Hundreds of tribal inhabitants of villages on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Revenue Inspector of Chandaka alleging that they were gradually being deprived of their land rights.

“Villagers have been in possession of land in forest fringe areas with valid land documents for years now. But they have recently discovered that their lands have been transferred to government records,” said Sal Mandi, secretary of Odisha Adivasi Mahasabha under the banner of which villagers held dharna on Monday.

As real estate developers were fast acquiring land in fringe villages, tribals were under tremendous pressure to part with their land, Mr. Mandi said.

“Landless families should be immediately provided with homestead and agricultural land. Besides, revenue department should make burial grounds available to villagers,” he demanded.

Odisha Adivasi Mahasabha said tribals and dalit villagers of Daruthenga, Andharua, Chandaka, Kantabada and Paikarapur panchayats were facing difficulties in obtaining caste certificates due to discrepancies in records and government should clear all hurdles so that tribal and dalit families could avail benefits of welfare schemes.