Special Correspondent

Five -member jury to examine schemes for Aralam farm

100 experts to take part in the three-day process, says Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha

Jury to submit report to State and

Central governments

KANNUR: The Adivasi rehabilitation project in the Aralam farm here will be subjected to social auditing involving social activists known at the national level, according to Adivasi and Dalit organisations.

Adivasi and Dalit organisations, including the Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha (AGM), Scheduled Castes-Scheduled Tribes Joint Committee and the Kochi-based Legal Aid Centre for SCs/STs, had decided to conduct a social audit of the details of the Adivasi rehabilitation programme in the Aralam farm in the context of serious irregularities in the construction of houses for the rehabilitated families in the farm and a state of uncertainty in the rehabilitation process, AGM chairperson C.K. Janu and Bhooparishkarana Samithi convener M. Geethanandan said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

The social auditing would examine whether the rehabilitation in the farm had followed the master plan framed as part of the agreement between the Adivasis and the government in 2001 and whether half of the farm purchased from the Central government by paying from the funds for the Scheduled Tribes was being set apart to be retained as a farm under a company, they said.

The three-day social auditing programme scheduled to be held at the farm in December would include hearing in which nearly 100 experts from various walks of life would participate.

A five-member jury headed by the former SCs/STs Commission chairman B.D. Sharma would hold the hearing. The jury would submit its report and recommendations to the State and Central governments, they said.

Fund utilisation

The social auditing would also cover utilisation of funds earmarked for health and education of Adivasis, the process of transferring land to the proposed company, details of house construction in the farm, utilisation of revenue from the land proposed to be retained as farm under the company and the inadequacy of the legislation concerning protection of land being assigned to the Adivasis, Ms. Janu and Geethanandan said.

A 15-member community leadership headed by SCs/STs Joint Committee general convener Punnala Sreekumar would visit the farm on October 14, they said.

Ms. Janu and Mr. Geethanandan said the government had invited non-governmental organisations and private parties for the construction of houses at the farm following reports of irregularities in the construction by the Kerala Nirmithi Kendra.

They said the Adivasis in the farm would strongly oppose the move to handover construction contract to private contractors.

They said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government and Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy had betrayed the demand of Dalits in the State for agricultural land through the resolution of the Chengara land agitation. They said that Mr. Chandy was offering protection to the LDF government’s bid to sideline the Dalit issue. Mr. Chandy should make his stand clear on the move to transfer the Aralam farm to the company.

They said the SCs/STs Joint Committee would present a second land reforms charter on November 5 as part of its agitation.

Element of extremism

Asked about the alleged extremism in Dalit communities, Mr. Geethanandan said the threat of Dalit extremism in the wake of the Varkala murder could be seen as a conspiracy by the LDF government to divert public attention from the Paul Muthoot murder case and subsequent controversies.

Central probe sought

He said the Dalit movements in the State had the organisational means to identify extremists in their colonies.

To another question, Mr. Geethanandan said the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) was not a transparent organisation.

He called for a probe by Central agencies into the activities of the DHRM.