IMPACT: Chhattisgarh Tribal Farmers win back land from Factory

Three tribal farmers of Raigadh, Chhattisgarh including Shantaram had unlawfully lost their lands to Navdurga Pvt. Ltd., a sponge iron company. Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, these lands that belong to the tribal farmers cannot be acquired for industrial purposes. However, after fighting the company for three years in the High Court of Chhattisgarh, Shantaram and the other two farmers have gained the rights to their land back. These farmers have legally leased out the land to the factory for coming 30 years for a fair price which ensures that the farmers are well compensated for giving up their piece of land. While previously, they had won the case, the factory had not given up the land up until February 2015.

In 2013, local land dealers had aided the company to acquire over 14 acre of land from three farmers. The farmers, at that time, were unaware of the laws made for protection of their land, their primary source of livelihood. However when they realized that they have been wronged, they started legal proceedings against the company. But even after winning the case, the company did not return their lands.

Rajesh made a video of the issue and started gathering public support for the rights of the farmers. He held community screenings and meeting, where he motivated the people to stand for their fellow farmers’ rights. Rajesh also attempted at holding a dialogue with the factory manager by holding a private screening for the factory. Finally, he conducted a screening at the Raigarh Collector’s office, which is where the administration decided to take definitive action against Navdurga Factory, which prompted the factory to take a rightful recourse.

Community correspondent Rajesh Gupta reports from Chhattisgarh for Video Volunteers.

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change. we could hyperlink to some VV pages, like our take action page.

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