//Moratorium sought on projects in tribal areas

Moratorium sought on projects in tribal areas

# Ban transfer of all land in Scheduled Areas to non-tribals
# Panel must review land acquisition by government

NEW DELHI: Indigenous groups have appealed to the Prime Minister to put a moratorium on developmental projects in tribal territories, to prevent land acquisition and displacement of tribal communities.

In a memorandum, the National Advocacy for Development of Indigenous People (NAC-DIP), a network of Adivasi groups, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups, demanded a ban on the transfer of all land in the Scheduled Areas to non-tribals.

It demanded the setting up of an independent committee to review acquisition and diversion of land by the Government, causing displacement in Scheduled Areas. The committee, it said, must go into details of illegal acquisition of land or encroachment by various development projects and return the land with adequate compensation.

The network appealed to the Centre to reject amendments to the draft Scheduled Tribes and Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill, 2005, stating that it would curtail the rights provided. The National Tribal Policy for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes has to be implemented immediately, it said.

In line with the Supreme Court guidelines, all displaced tribals under various projects should be resettled and rehabilitated with adequate compensation, means of livelihood, qualitative education and health care, the memorandum said. "The PESA Act, 1996, should be implemented in its true spirit in all the States concerned. Control and management of all service sectors should be vested with the Gram Sabha. All habitats that have majority tribal population should be brought under the provisions of Scheduled V areas," it said.