Monday, 30th October 2017

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Jharkhand to move SC against order to evict tribals from forests

Government committed to protecting people who depend on forests, says Chief Minister

By Our Correspondent in Ranchi
  • Published 26.02.19, 12:16 AM
  • Updated 26.02.19, 12:22 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Drops of joy: CM Raghubar Das felicitates best jal sahiya to Neha Devi in Ranchi on Monday. (Prashant Mitra)

Chief Minister Raghubar Das assured the people of Jharkhand on Monday that the state government would file a review petition before the Supreme Court to protect tribals from being evicted from forest dwellings in the wake of a ruling wherein the apex court had directed states to act against unauthorised occupation of forest land.

“Tribal and other families of Jharkhand will not be affected. The government is committed to protecting the people who are dependent upon forests. In the wake of the Supreme Court judgment, the government will file a review petition,” the chief minister tweeted from his official handle in the evening.

His principal secretary Sunil Kumar Barnwal said the chief minister had directed the department concerned to start the legal process of filing a review petition. “Under the law, the court grants one month time to file a review petition. The government will safeguard the interests of the people of Jharkhand who depend upon forest land,” Barnwal told The Telegraph.

Over 200 JMM leaders and party workers held a protest march on Monday to demand the state government take up the issue. The protesters started walking from Rajendra Chowk and later congregated at Ban Bhavan at Doranda.

JMM leader Antu Tirkey welcomed the state government’s decision to file a review petition, but added that it had done so out of pressure. “Ideally, the state government should have intervened in the case from Day One. Tribals will fight for their rights,” he said.

“If the Supreme Court judgment is implemented it will start another kind of displacement. Forest is the mainstay of the tribal society. Forest is protected because of tribals,” he added.

Earlier, the chief minister applauded the role played by “jal sahiyas” and “rani mistris” to realise the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of PM Narendra Modi and helping Jharkhand to secure an ODF tag a year before the deadline.

“Even the Prime Minister applauded the exemplary work of rani mistrys in the field of toilet construction in his Mann Ki Baat radio broadcast. Our tribal sisters have immense potential. By 2014, Jharkhand was only 18 per cent ODF but in the last four years, it has become 100 per cent ODF. Now we need to work with more commitment,” Das said while speaking at a state-level Jal Sahiya Sammelan held at Khelgaon.

The chief minister also announced a grant of Rs 1,000 per month to jal sahiyas from March in addition to more incentives. The money will be credited directly to their bank accounts.

Das also felicitated some sahiyas for their outstanding work, presenting each with a citation and Rs 51,000 from the chief minister’s discretionary fund. Among those who were feted were Anju Devi and Namita Kumari from Hazaribagh, Anita Kumari from Ramgarh, Salmi Devi and Jayanti Uraon from Lohardaga, Anima Bada and Balwanti Devi from Gu-mla, Kunti Devi and Rita Devi from Ranchi, Ashrita Horo and Helen Kandulana from Khunti and Sunita Devi from Latehar.

Das also laid the foundation of as many as 11,269 small schemes worth Rs 1681.99 crore under the CM Jan Jal Yojana and Gobardhan Yojana.