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Rediff.com  » Business » Orissa chalks out plan to protect tribal rights over land

Orissa chalks out plan to protect tribal rights over land

June 24, 2009 12:55 IST

Worried over tribal upsurge in different parts of the state, Orissa government today decided to strictly enforce laws under land reform act and laws relating to scheduled area.

The government's hurried action to give justice to the tribal population came in the wake of violence at Narayanpatna in Koraput district, official sources said.

On June 15, angry tribals at Koraput forcibly ploughed about 500 acre land in possession of non-tribals. The tribal fury came to fore after the state administration failed to redress their grievances that the non-tribals had captured tribal land by using fraudulent means as well as by violating law of the land.

The incident followed a landmine explosion by Maoists in the district, which left nine security personnel of state anti-naxal force dead.

Realising that Maoists were taking advantage from tribal unrest, chief minister Naveen Patnaik asked the officials to ensure that not an inch of tribal land illegally remained in possession of non-tribals.

"The government has decided to provide legal assistance to tribals who are unable to file cases against alleged land encroacher's," Revenue minister S N Patro said after a high level meeting chaired by Patnaik.

The government would also launch an awareness drive to sensitise tribals regarding their land rights, Patro said, adding that all vacant posts in tehsil and revenue inspector's office would be filled on priority.

This apart, the sub-collectors in tribal dominated districts would hear land related cases as the Orissa Administrative Service officers would be appointed as officer on special duty.

The government had also decided to remove hurdles in providing land rights to forest dwellers by making amendments in Orissa Scheduled Tribe and Traditional Dwellers Act, 2006.

"About 20,000 tribals would be benefited from the modified Act," Patro said, adding that chief minister would regularly monitor implementation of decisions.

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