Committee for restoration of land rights to tribals an eyewash

Bhubaneswar: Dubbing formation of a high level committee for restoration of land rights of tribals in Orissa as "an eyewash", BJP on Friday said it was a fresh attempt to betray people as BJD government failed to utilise an existing law to restore tribals` land grabbed by others.

"Naveen Patnaik government has been betraying people, mainly tribals. It made no effort to restore tribals` land grabbed by influential people, politicians and officials," senior BJP leader Biswabhushan Harichandan told reporters.

As the government`s failure triggered uprisings and agitation by tribals, a high-level committee was formed to recommend measures for effective and expeditious restoration of the land of tribals, the former state minister said.

"Formation of the committee is simply an eyewash. It is a fresh bid by the ruling BJD to betray and mislead the tribals as a progressive and powerful law for restoration of tribal land already exists in the state," Harichandan said.

Instead of implementing the provisions of the existing law, the state government has pushed the sensitive issue into cold storage by setting up the committee, he said.

The BJP leader said when he was revenue and law minister, an effective law was brought about by amending regulation 2, 1956 for restoration of the land of tribals which had been grabbed by others.

"The BJD government is well aware of the existence of this law but it lacks sincerity and political will to implement its provisions to safeguard the interests of tribals," the BJP stalwart said.

He said BJP would launch a state-wide agitation if the state government fails to restore the land of tribals by sincerely implementing the existing law.

The high-level committee, formed as part of steps to fulfill promises made to the mediators to resolve the hostage crisis in February, would simply delay the process, he said.