Pradeep Pattanayak

Hundreds of tribal people on Monday staged a protest demonstration at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar demanding immediate implementation of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act 1996.

Donning traditional attire, beating traditional drums, and displaying their weapons, hundreds of tribal people took out a massive rally from Master Canteen to the Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar. Besides demanding the immediate implementation of the PESA Act, they asserted their right to forest land. 

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“By not implementing the PESA Act, the state government is trying to displace the tribals in the name of development,” said an agitating tribal highlighting rapid industrialisation in forested areas and the resultant displacement of tribals. 

Echoing similar feelings, another tribal youth said, “The places where we the tribals are living are a treasure trove of minerals. The state government has set its eyes on these minerals. This is the reason why the government is dragging its feet on implementing the PESA Act, brought by the Central government. Our other demand is that there are 62 tribes, but some non-tribals are demanding inclusion in the list, which should not be done. If the government does what they are demanding, the tribals across the state would intensify the agitation.”

No comments have been received from the government in this regard.

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