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‘Collection of minor forest produce is the right of tribal people’

Special Correspondent
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Rameshwar Oraon to hold talks with Chief Secretary today

Traditional:Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Rameshwar Oraon being welcomed by tribal people at Sahakara Bhavan in Mysore on Thursday.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM
Traditional:Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Rameshwar Oraon being welcomed by tribal people at Sahakara Bhavan in Mysore on Thursday.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Rameshwar Oraon said on Thursday that tribal people had every right to collect minor forest produce (MFP) and sell them. No one could interfere with this right, he said.

He was addressing members of the tribal communities at B.R. Ambedkar Bhavan in Hunsur after visiting several haadis (tribal settlements) in H.D. Kote taluk of Mysore district, an official press release said here. The Union government was taking steps to fix a minimum price for the MFP to avoid middlemen from exploiting tribal people. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 made all tribal people living in the forests eligible for title deeds to their land. Adivasis should come forward to take the benefits due to them, Dr. Oraon said. He elicited the opinion of tribal people and others who participated in the meeting on whether they were getting the benefits given over by the Centre.

If land allotted to tribal people would have to be acquired for any government purpose they could be given compensation four times higher than the existing value of the land. The Centre was planning to bring legislation in that regard, he said.

Many replied that they were being denied benefits such as schools, anganwadi centres, drinking water, electricity and ration under the public distribution system when Dr. Oraon made discreet enquiries.

He assured the gathering that he would take up the issue with the State Chief Secretary at a meeting scheduled to be held in Bangalore on Friday. The matter would also be discussed with the Mysore Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Executive Officer of the Mysore Zilla Panchayat. Commission members K. Kamala Kumari and B.L. Meena, H.D. Kote MLA B. Chikkanna, commission official Aditya Mishra, Deputy Commissioner P.S. Vastrad, and zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer Ajay Nagbhushan were present.

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