Why tribals of Sundergarh are following rules written on a stone

 

Sundergarh: Dissatisfied with the state government’s inability to fulfil their demands, thousands of tribals in Bardengra village of Sundergarh have been running a parallel government known as “Pathergadi”.

Under the Pathergadi tradition, rules are framed by the villagers and written on a big stone which is supposed to be followed by the locals.

“We Adivasis living in 5th schedule(Constitution) area believe in the rules framed by us which is usually written on a big stone,” President of Bardengra Gram Sabha Committee Sinus Kerketa said.

Till now, the Pathergadi tradition has spread in Bisra, Nuagan, Kuanrmunda, Birmitrapur, Rajgangpur, Kutra, Badgan, Lephripada and Hemgiri blocks of Sundergarh.

According to sources, the tradition is widely adopted in tribal areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand as well.

“According to the Pathergadi rules, people will rule their own village and the problems resolved after meeting within the members. Later, the government will be informed on the final decision,” another member of the Bardengra Gram Sabha Committee, Dominic Kerketa, explained.

Among the many demands, the locals in Bardengra have also been demanding prohibition of non-adivasis in their area.

Members of the tribal community have demanded to spread Pathergadi tradition and implement the Forest Act and the PESA Act in all the tribal dominated places across the state within one year.

Biramitrapur MLA George Tirkey, who has joined the fellow tribals in the protest, has said that the government is ignoring the demands and forcing the tribals to choose the wrong path.

“Both the Forest Act and PESA Act have been already been by-passed and now our people are being asked to take the wrong path. We are protesting against that,” said Tirkey.

However, Sundergarh Collector Surendra Kumar Meena has said that such traditions are creating obstacle for development work in these areas and don’t make any sense.

“It is true that Gram sabhas don’t work properly at times because of the Sarpanch’s carelessness. But demanding adoption of Pathergadi tradition doesn’t have any meaning,” said Meena.