Hyderabad: Terming mining as the "greatest
threat" faced by the tribal community in last two decades,
Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo has asked the
youths selected under an ambitious programme to create
awareness among the forest dwellers about their constitutional
rights over the land.
"Today the greatest threat that has come to the tribals
and people living in forest areas is actually the threat of
mining," the Minister told the youths selected under the Prime
Minister`s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDF) programme.
Addressing the youths assigned to bring convergence of
development and welfare initiatives and schemes by the central
and state governments in the Naxal-hit districts of the
country here, Deo, who is also the Minister for Panchayati
Raj, noted that there are laws like Panchayats (Extension to
Scheduled Areas) Act under which only a Scheduled Tribe
members can buy or take land on lease in tribal dominated
Noting that even rights of the non-tribals who own only
two cents of land in the tribal areas for generations is
notified, he wondered, "How then are we able to give mining
leases to corporates and companies which are neither either
owned by the Scheduled Tribes or controlled by the Scheduled
Pointing out the loopholes in the laws through which the
mining companies have managed to take the land on lease in
mineral-rich forest areas, Deo told the 156 youths selected
for the fellowship that "there are rights which we will have
to make the local people aware of."
The Fellows will have a duration of 2 to 3 years to work
with the administration of 78 Left-wing extremism affected
districts in nine states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal,
Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
The Minister said though the Parliament passed Panchayats
(Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act was passed in 1996, only
Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have implemented it.
The Act extended the provisions of Panchayats to the
tribal areas of seven other states including Gujarat,
Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha