The Right to Land

Millions of people live in India's forestlands, but have no legal right to their homes, lands or livelihoods. “We have 5 acres of land but we don’t have any land entitlement records.  We were unable to reap the crop this year.  It all got decayed.  We sowed one quintal of soya bean but no harvest came from it.  We sowed maize but had no harvest.”   Call to Action:This is the reality for the indigenous minority of Geedan village who have no land entitlements to their land despite having lived and cultivated it for centuries.  Landless, cropless they are below the poverty line without any governmental assistance.  However, they have the right under the Forest Right Act 2006 to reclaim their land legally as theirs.  Thus we need your help to reclaim their land and dignity.  Please call:   Sub Divisional Magistrate, Block Batiyagarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tel: 9179005744   VV-PACS Coordinator Arti Valmik, reports from Geedan Village, Batiyagarh, Madhya Pradesh where residents like elderlySimba Bai are having to collect mahua and tendu leaves from the jungle to make ends meet.   Having spoken to our Coordinator we learn that residents who do not have land entitlement records are unable to claim agricultural subsistence from the government, which is especially essential when crops fail.  This leaves individuals like Simba Bai helpless.   Our Coordinator informs us- “The Law says that people who are paying penalties for the land since 2005 and have proof of receipt should be allotted the land as their own.”   The Forest Rights Act 2006 explains how those who have been cultivating their land prior to December 13, 2005 without documentation can claim up to 4 hectares of land.  Those who have a government lease, but whose land has been illegally taken by the Forest Department or whose land is the subject of a dispute between Forest and Revenue Departments, can claim those.   However residentshave tried to claim their land but have met the following difficulties: “We have been telling the land official that we don’t have any records to show the land is ours so give us that?  But first he asks for 10 thousand rupees.”   That is why we need your support.  Today, you can help people like Simba Bai and her community get the entitlement to the land that is rightfully theirsNOW!  Without having to pay the bribe they are being asked.  Call the number above.   Watch more videos like this by clicking on this link:   About the Partnership: The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme and Video Volunteers have come together to create the Community Correspondents Network. The videos generated by the network will be able to highlight voices from the margins, providing skills to social communicators to provide advocacy tools to community based organisations.   Written by Manjinder Singh Sidhu

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