Tribals have fallen victim to indiscriminate diversion of forestland to industries and mining companies in UPA regime, alleged CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat here on Wednesday.
Addressing the second national convention of Advasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) here, Mr. Karat said between 2004 and 2013, the UPA government had diverted forestland to the tune of 243000 ha in favour of mining and industries projects.
“Tribals were worst sufferers as the forestland they were depending on for livelihood was snatched. The policies risk3e health livelihood options of tribals. The problem is also critical in Odisha,” he said.
After liberalisation, mining companies and multinational companies were allowed to loot minerals in unrestrained manner as a result of which lakhs of tribals were deprived of their rightful claim on land, the CPI (M) general secretary said, adding that 2011 census showed there was a sharp drop in population of tribal farmers.
Earlier inaugurating the convention, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said, “since independence, both Congress and BJP were consistently trying to keep Advasis in museum as historical evidence. There is no proper polices for development of tribals in the country.”
Mr. Sarkar, however, praised Left Front governments in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura for adopting robust policies for tribal development.
Mr. Karat also called upon the party cadre to foil attempts of organization like Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh to divide tribal community in name of religion. “RSS is operating Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams in tribal dominated areas. We could see through the intention of RSS ,” he said.
The CPI (M) leader also warned tribal cadres against spread of influence of CPI (Maoist). “The Maoists, who use means of violence, are hand in gloves with industrialists and miners. Maoists hijack genuine people’s struggles and at the end they facilitate entry of miners in forested region,” he pointed out. Tribal leaders from across different States are participating in the two-day-long convention of AARM.