The Problem Within the Problem

Tribals in India have been one of the most marginalised communities in India. Land alienation and the absence of other viable sources of income are the most pressing problems they face. IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent, Purna Chandra Nayak reports on one such case from Odisha. In the 1950s 80 houses of Bhuyan and Kohla tribes were relocated from nearby forest areas to the village of Bandaberna. This was done to protect the forest areas from undue destruction by the hand of tribals. It is of course an unrelated co-incidence that the forest area in question was mineral rich (like most areas of Odisha). The families were given temporary land records so that they could cultivate what was once classified as grazing land. Eventually these papers were taken from them as well under the pretext of being given permanent record papers. But the problem doesn't end there. The residents of the area need these land records for bank loans, to get irrigation facilities from the government, and even to enrol their children in high school. Repeated inquiries have resulted to naught. "How are they calling this grazing land? If that was the status why did you move us here 53 years ago?" asks Ladra Munda, an elder of the community. Call to Action: Please call Mr Bhupendra Singh Poonia, on 06622-272265 and ask him to ensure that the 80 families get their land rights.

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