|UPDATES: Why are the PM's wishes being violated by the govt?|
Not enough people in the government or the private sector have the confidence in creating industrial and mining projects that offer win-win deals to tribals, says Rajni Bakshi.
In theory, PESA empowers tribal communities with many provisions for self-governance. In practice the opposite has happened. The IRMA report (http://sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/pesa-report-censored-chapter.pdf), like other such government commissioned documents, makes a familiar set of recommendations:
1. Minerals should be exploited by tribals themselves, either individually or through cooperative societies with financial assistance of the State. Instead, the government is allowing corporations to extract minerals at throw-away prices and by methods that either hurt or do not benefit local people.
2. The Forest Rights Act requires that any project get 'Prior Informed Consent' from the Gram Shabha. This provision must be strictly enforced.
3. Where acquisition of tribal land is unavoidable, compensation must be not in cash but land for land.
4. There must be a National Inquest, looking into all complaints from Schedule Five (tribal) areas, currently pending with the offices of the Governors and the national commissions.
Following this up with a time-bound process of penalising violations will address the alienation of the people, help foster a sense of justice and go a long way to undercutting insurgency as well as facilitating efforts that raise people's standard of living.
5. The practice of outright purchase of mineral bearing land by the mining companies should be stopped forthwith since the Mining Act envisages only a lease in these cases.