CV News/ Monday, February 11, 2019
Gujarat’s tribal rights organization, with a claimed membership of over 10,000 in seven districts, Eklavya Sangathan, which organized a rally on February 11 at the riverfront in Ahmedabad, has demanded that tribals’ right to own forest land, get foodgrains as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, and 100 days’ employment and minimum wages as per the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) be implemented in the state.
Addressed to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, a memorandum submitted to the district collector, Ahmedabad, said despite the Forest Land Rights Act (FRA), 2006, out of 1,82,869 applications for forest land only 40.40% claims have been approved. Also, most tribals have been given “adhikar patra” or cultivation rights, and only one-tenth of them have received land titles.
The memorandum said, even though there is no provision in the law that the people receiving salary or pensioners are not eligible for land, the state government does not provide land ownership to such tribals”, the memorandum.
The memorandum further said, the Gujarat government is not providing employment according to the provisions of MGNREGA. Work is not given within 15 days of demand for job, wages are not paid in 15 days after work, and technical supervisors are mostly corrupt and ask for money for administrative and technological sanction.”
Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Madhusudan Mistry addressing the rally
Demands the memorandum, 200 days of employment should be provided instead of 100 days in a year and workers should get Rs 300 instead of Rs 174 as wage per day.
It said, while NFSA was enacted in 2013, it began being implemented three years later, 2016, adding, about 3.83 crore people of Gujarat, i.e. 64% of the poor, do not receive adequate foodgrains from ration shops despite NFSA.
Food provided to the poor is not as per the provision of the law and those who are not given foodgrains are not given food allowance as well, the memorandum said, adding, if a family with a BPL card is divided, the split family is given above poverty line (APL) card. Hence, the new family does not get the benefit of poverty alleviation schemes.
Then, said the memorandum, every pregnant woman in a below poverty line (BPL) family should get Rs 6,000 cash. Even this is not paid on time. There aren’t enough number of Public Distribution Shops in the state. There are 18,580 villages in Gujarat and 13,607 gram panchayats, but there are only 17,052 shops in the state, including those in cities.