‘Unresolved land issues reason for Maoist menace’

The trustworthiness of the administration among tribal population is "very low" due to unresolved land issues, Jairam Ramesh said.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2011, 21:58 PM IST

Hyderabad: The trustworthiness of the
administration among tribal population is "very low" due to
unresolved land issues that have led to escalation in Maoist
menace, Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh
said here on Saturday.

Issues such as forcible eviction of people for land
acquisition for projects, unsettled rehabilitation packages,
degradation and unproductively of land given to the poor have
aggravated the Maoists` menace in the Central and Eastern
parts of India, Ramesh said.

"Today, the trust deficit between the tribals and the
administration has reached to an extent in which our
credibility is very low," Ramesh said while addressing an
international conference on `Para-legal models to resolve land
problems of the poor and tribals in India` at the National
Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) here.

"To my experience and to my mind, the continuous
excretion of Maoist ideology on tribals is the ability of the
Maoists to dispense instant justice when it comes to land-
related issues. It is the continuous insensitivity of the
government administration on land issues that has resulted
into discontent," Ramesh said.

More than 30 million people, mostly tribals, have been
displaced in the past 50 years in the Central and Eastern
regions in the name of developmental projects, he said.

"It is complete failure of relocation and
rehabilitation in Central and Eastern India which is
particularly responsible for accentuating the Maoist
problems," Ramesh opined.

Pointing out that the mining industry in the country does
not pay heed to environmental issues, Ramesh said this apathy
has resulted into "degradation and devastation" of large areas
of land which has affected the livelihood of people and
tribals.

Ridiculing the assigned land issues, Ramesh said most of
the land given to the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes is
useless as it is either barren or located on hilltops or in
the rocky terrains.

The major task to resolve tribal issues related to land
is to increase awareness among people regarding their legal
entitlement, besides modernisation of land records, he said.

"We will be taking the step forward in creating such an
arm (for awareness). I would like to focus on Orissa,
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. This is a heartland as far as the
Maoists are concerned. We will take up the land issues in
these states in the first phase. We must demonstrate to the
poor tribal communities that here is an administration that
can sort out problems," Ramesh said.

He said the Rural Development Ministry will take the help
of rural development institutes like NALSAR and other law
universities in the country to provide para-legal services to
the people in 60 districts that the union government has
identified as Maoist-affected districts in the country.

Replying to a query, Ramesh refuted the allegations
made by Mayawati government in UP that the comments made by
him on the implementation of MGNREGA in Uttar Pradesh were
"politically motivated".

Ramesh had recently accused the Mayawati government of
"continuing inaction" in instances of "grave irregularities"
in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

PTI