Tribal people stage protest

They seek issuance of ROFR pattas for the lands on which they are cultivating cashew

Published - January 05, 2021 01:15 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Tribal people staging a ‘Vanta Varpu protest on the road outside the MRO office at Raavikamatam on Monday.

Tribal people staging a ‘Vanta Varpu protest on the road outside the MRO office at Raavikamatam on Monday.

The tribal people of five villages in Raavikamatam mandal staged a ‘vanta varpu’ (cooking in the open) protest outside the Raavikamatam Mandal Revenue Office at Raavikamatam in the district on Monday demanding issuance of Recognition of Forest Rights (ROFR) pattas for the lands on which they were cultivating cashew atop Somalammakonda.

Earlier, the tribal people under the aegis of Girijana Sangam 5th Schedule Sadhana Committee came in a rally from the RTC Complex to the MRO office.

They demanded conduct of a survey in the ‘gap’ area on the hill and issuance of pattas to the tribal people. They said that the continual movement of trucks for granite quarrying on the hills has reduced the BT roads to kutcha roads.

They alleged that the revenue received from the mining companies since 2013-14 was not being used for the development of the affected-tribal areas but was diverted to other areas, in violation of the rule.

Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham district assistant secretary E. Chiranjeevi, Sadhana Committee district honorary president K. Govinda Rao and Girijana Sangham president Singarapu Valasayya and secretary Tokala Appa Rao were among those who led the protest.

“A Surveyor was sent from Paderu for conduct of the survey in the ‘gap’ areas in the forests as per our demand. An amount of ₹2 crore was received from the mining companies towards the District Mineral Fund but the same was not used for the development of the affected tribal areas,” Mr. Govinda Rao told said on Monday evening.

There is both revenue and forest land and there are some ‘gap’ areas in between the revenue and forest land on the hill.

The tribal villagers of Dolavanipalem, Ramannadorapalem, K. Gadavapalem, Kotnabilli and K. Kotnabilli have been cultivating cashew gardens on 198 acres of land on the hills for over three decades.

Mr. Govinda Rao alleged that the permissions were given without the conduct of the mandatory ‘gram sabhas’ by the mining and revenue officials, who had failed to give ‘pattas’ to the tribal farmers for the land on which they were cultivating cashew.

Mr. Govinda Rao alleged that the local revenue officials and mining owners sent back the survey officials, who were deputed by the YSR Congress Party government, for the issue of ROFR pattas.

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