Kerala

Kadar tribal council to sue experts

Tribespeople are opposing the Athirappilly power project as they “cannot afford another displacement.”—Photo: Thulasi Kakkat  

adar tribesmen of Vazhachal forest will sue experts who furnished “false information” on tribal settlements for clearing the Athirappilly power project. The decision was taken at the Oorukoottam (tribal council) of Kadar tribe in Vazhachal held on Sunday, which unanimously rejected the power project.

V.K. Geetha, the Ooru mooppathy (tribal chieftain), said a scientist and a consultant firm continuously furnished false information on tribal settlements and impact of the proposed project to Centre for obtaining project clearance. They refused to correct themselves even after the errors were pointed out, which amounted to blatant violation of human rights of tribespeople. Hence the decision to seek legal recourse, she said.

The fact that the tribal settlement was located hardly 400 metres from the proposed project site was distorted by the experts in their reports. The reports didn’t even acknowledge that the tribal settlement existed there, said the minutes of the meeting, which was accessed by The Hindu .

The council meeting discussed the proposal invoking the legally enforceable Community Forest Rights (CFR) guaranteed under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The permission of the council is a prerequisite for clearing any projects in the area where the CFR has been notified.

The resolution attains significance in the wake of the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydro Electric Power Projects giving green signal to the project proposal mooted by the Kerala State Electricity Board. All the 73 tribal representatives who attended the meeting rejected the project which, if implemented, would lead to the displacement of tribesmen. The ancestors of the tribesmen who have now settled in Vazhachal were displaced twice from two hydroelectric project sites.

“The tribespeople cannot afford another displacement to happen,” said Ms. Geetha.

The experts who repeatedly provided wrong information on the biodiversity of the region and the possible impacts of the project on tribal settlement were violating the human rights of one of the most vulnerable sections of the society. Such issues would be taken up with the tribal welfare authorities, she said.



The fact that the tribal settlement was located hardly 400 metres from the proposed project site was distorted by the experts in their reports



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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:16:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kadar-tribal-council-to-sue-experts/article7573895.ece

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