MLAs' plea to protect tribal interest
BHUBANESWAR: As many as 26 MLAs, cutting across partylines have appealed to President KR Narayanan and Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to intervene and prevent the move initiated by the Union Mining Ministry to amend or annul the 5th Schedule of the Constitution, which is primarily meant to protect the culture and livelihood of the tribal community.
Describing the move as anti-national and anti-tribal, the MLAs in a letter have alleged that the move has been initiated under pressure from the mines lobby of the country and abroad. It is a conspiracy to deprive the tribals of their livelihood.
The MLAs said as the President and Governors have discretionary powers to ensure peace and good governance in the scheduled areas of the tribals, they should not allow any action that would affect the tribals' interest. They alleged that the Central Act which extends power to gram sabhas of the scheduled areas in matters of development works, rights of tribals on land, acquisition of tribal land and minor forest produce is not being implemented effectively.
More than 44.7 per cent of the geographical area of Orissa has been designated as scheduled area where 28.2 per cent of the state's total population live.
The signatories to the letter include Hemananda Biswal, Parama Pujari, Surendra Singh Bhoi, Sadan Nayak, Gajadhar Majhi, George Tirkey, Ramakant Mishra, Harihar Karan, Santosh Singh Saluja, Taraprasad Bahinipati, Ramamurty Gomango, Prasad Harichandan, Anup Kumar Sai, Saluga Pradhan, Mohan Charan Majhi, Padma Charan Haiburu, Pradipta Kumar Nayak, Dayanidhi Kissan, Haladhar Karji, Prakash Chnandra Debta, Mamata Madhi, Balabhadra Majhi, Umesh Swain and Bhujabal Majhi.