Oraon advocates land-for-land policy for tribals

Bhubaneswar: Seeking land-for-land policy for tribals, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on Thursday asked Odisha government to follow the Andhra Pradesh model to check diversion of tribal sub-plan funds.
"I have already told Odisha Governor M C Bhandare about how important land is for a tribal. I am also drawing the attention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard," NCST chairman Rameswar Oraon told reporters here winding up his nine-day tour in the state.
Land is identity of a tribal family and a landless tribal is often denied his certificate on this ground.
Oraon said many tribal families in Sundergarh and Keonjhar districts of Odisha have lost their land and should be given alternative land to maintain their identity. "Unfortunately, minerals are found in areas inhabited by tribals. The tribals are often victims of large scale mining," he said.
He said while the Land Acquisition Bill states that acquisition of tribal land for industries and mining should be avoided, a group of people in Kalinga Nagar Steel hub told him that tribal land was acquired and the nearby land of non-tribals was spared.
Expressing concern over diversion of tribal sub-plan funds, Oraon said officials responsible for such activities must be punished. "In Odisha, tribal sub-plan funds had been used in construction of roads in urban areas," he claimed.
He said Andhra Pradesh government's law regarding diversion of tribal sub-plan funds should be a model for rest of the country including Odisha.