Special Correspondent

NAMAKKAL: The three-day fifth State conference of Tamil Nadu Tribal Association (TNTA), which concluded here on Saturday, has urged the State Government to implement, without any further delay, the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act.

The conference noted with concern the reluctance on the part of Tamil Nadu while in other states the Act was at various stages of implementation.

The Act, it pointed out, recognises the tribals’ rights on land.

“Not a single claim from a single tribal in Tamil Nadu under the Act has been received,” pointed out CPI (M) senior polit bureau member Brinda Karat.

While addressing the participants on Friday, Ms. Karat said that the State Government was attempting to displace 20,000-odd tribals from 18,000 acres of forest lands under the ruse of expanding and extending wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

Under the ruse of tiger reserves, the move to evict tribal populations should be dropped.

“This act of the State is inhuman,” she pointed out.

She said that the tribals were denied community certificates, which was their basic livelihood issue.

Not a single tribal farmer in the country had benefited from the recently-announced farm debt waiver scheme of the Union Finance Ministry.

“Thus, tribals are further marginalised,” she said.

The conference demanded that the government should come out with a special legislation to prevent buying of tribal lands by outsiders.

The lands that had already been sold to outsiders should be restored to original tribal owners.

The Forest Department should not force them to evict.

The government should also lift the ban on issuance of free land and house site pattas in hills and give priority to tribals under its free land distribution scheme.

Demonstrations

Highlighting these problems, the conference also decided to hold demonstrations in front of all Collectorates on November 4 in which a large number of tribals would participate and raise their issues.

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