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 The RoFR act recognizes the dwelling site, religious places, burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, biodiverisity etc and also PVT tenures. As the implementation boils down to title deeds for house sites and lands under cultivation, SAKTI engaged the Chenchu youth to document their traditional knowledge in their idiom and dialect, in encouraging them to assert as inborn foresters, capable of managing these resources as envisaged in the Act.

"Since SAKTI activities are mostly issue based and covering a large area, here we concentrate on the forest-related programmes of SAKTI for the present study."


The Tribal Struggle for Property Rights

-Arun Kumar

SAKTI: Review Report by: Mukta Srivastava, Programme Officer, Oxfam GB in India - Hyderabad . DATE : 20-25 November 2002




Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


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Government Eyes Tribal Lands

The AP government plans to lease the Vishaka Uplands for bauxite mining. This, would spell doom to the tribals of the region and the environment, writes

- P. Sivaramakrishna.


The government has been eyeing the Vishaka uplands as a potential strip mine since the 70s when it was estimated that the area was rich in bauxite. However, this area is a catchment for all of rivulets and reservoirs in the Vizianagaram and Vishaka region. Eleru, Pampa, Tandava, Ravanapalli, Raivada, Rachakattu, Kalyanpulova, Konam, Mahadrigadda and Tatipudi, irrigating the East-coast; and lower Sileru, upper Sileru, Bhalimela, Jwalaput, Machkund, etc produce hydel power on Western side of the ghats in the Vishaka and Vizianagaram regions. It is also an evergreen forest that provides livelihood for the tribals. Deforestation due to poor management by government has already resulted in landslides, flashfloods and silting of the reservoirs. The cyclone of May 1990 affected the tribal areas, the water sources and reservoirs which irrigated coastal Visakha. Sri Chandi Prasad Bhat, one of the two leaders of the Chipko moment, and now member of expert committee convened by government of AP, visited the area after the cyclone. I requested him to sensitise the decision makers in Delhi regarding the hazards of deforestation in this region.

In AP, Vishaka Jilla Navanirmana Samiti has conducted a study, in 1988, of the ill-effects of bauxite mining in the region. They estimated that about 10,000 Girijans living in that area would be displaced. At least 55 villages would have to be relocated. About 6000 acres of evergreen forest would have to be felled. A strip of forest, 100 metres wide and 36 kilometers long would have to be razed to the ground to accommodate the ore conveyor. The proposed railway line to transport the ore would run for a length of 70 km through several small land holdings, rendering many small farmers landless. The bauxite transportation process would pollute the atmosphere. The environment, tribal survival economy, the ecology and the culture of the region would suffer drastic and irreversible change. The AP Natural History Society of Visakhapatnam and IDEA, an NGO, in their report suggested the deferral of the mining project since the area is reeling under severe ecological degradation.

Oxfam (India) Trust has studied the effect of bauxite mining on the livelihood of the people at Damanjodi in Orissa, and their report in 1992 can serve us as an concrete example of what to expect. Nalco acquired 7204.74 hectare in that region. Around 26 villages have lost their land either partially or fully and the Scheduled Tribes population in the fully displaced area was 47.7 per cent. Once the process began, no one could guess that there were villages in that area at all.

The Tribal Culture Research and Training Institute of the Govt. of AP brought out a volume on the problem of displacement and rehabilitation of tribals, with special reference to AP, in 1993. In this volume, most of the essays by specialists working in the Tribal Welfare Department describe the heart rending misery caused to the people who are displaced for no fault of theirs. A single example of government commitment to relocation and compensation would suffice: The Tandava reservoir was constructed in the early 70s, displacing several tribals in the process. No compensation or relocation has been settled for these victims of modernisation till date, nearly thirty years after!

All available signs point to a doubtful viability of the bauxite project. Balco wound up its project to tap bauxite in Gandhamadan hills of Orissa due to intense public agitation. Earlier, Nalco obtained permission for the exploratory study of prospects of an aluminium plant in the Vishaka region from Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) and submitted a project report. An ominous portent came in the form of the technological consultant Mecon’s advice to Nalco, to construct a pump house above the Tandava reservoir to divert water required by the alumina plant. This was suggested when the reservoir was already unable to supply more than half the expected water to the command area under irrigation. Moreover, depending on need, the water in all these reservoirs is diverted to Visakha city through the Eleru canal. The farmers in this region always agitate since this diversion starves their standing crops.

At this juncture, the AP Government sent a two-member delegation to Orissa where Nalco operates bauxite mines. and to the proposed site in the tribal areas of Visakha District. The committee observed that the Orissa bauxite areas are devoid of forests, whereas the proposed area for the Vishaka project has a rich forest cover. The committee assessed that the government was likely to generate a profit of Rs. 5 crore per annum, while the ecological loss would be 1,500 crore in a span of 30 years. Thus, the actual hard loss to the nation, as estimated by the state government committee itself would be 10 times the notional profit of the aluminium industry. The profits of the bauxite alumina industry would have to be less than this figure, since full value addition does not occur. The government estimate of a Rs. 1500 crore loss does not include the loss to the people of the region, i.e., the tribals who have lived there for centuries. This raises the main question in this whole issue. Does the national interest as seen by the state government, or any government for that matter, have anything at all to do with the interest of the customary residents of the region, i.e. the tribals.

In this context, we had sensitised the NGO network in Visakha District, in what was termed a Viswa Samakhya in 1992. Members of this network and an expert committee visited the Damanjodi Nalco location and the proposed site at Chintalapalli forest in Visakha. The government of AP considered the situation, particularly the intensive power requirement for the aluminium smelter, and rejected the Nalco proposal. Significantly, Indal’s Belgaum smelter project in Karnataka proved a disaster owing to chronic power shortage and its high cost in the state. Balco could not commission its potlines in its smelter for a long time, as the Madhya Pradesh government could not supply power on a continuing basis. Though two licenses have been issued to International Aluminium Products Limited (IAPL) and Indal in Rayagada district of Orissa, they have not yet been grounded.

The working group on non-ferrous metals setup by the Union Ministry of Mines had made a strong representation on the need to encourage aluminium recycling in India as a long-term solution for conserving energy and mineral resources. Recycling uses only 800 to 1,000 units of energy against 1,6000 units consumed per tonne in refining the metal through the bauxite-alumina route in a modern smelter. Indian capacity for aluminium has been estimated to be good for domestic and export needs after the existing equipment has been revamped recently. Thus, today, it is uneconomical to produce aluminium from bauxite, and strategically unwise to export bauxite or alumina.

In such a situation why is the state government rushing to get an investment of Rs. 5,000 crores for bauxite and alumina? Who is the investor? What are the market projections? Where will the power and water come from? The commercial viability of bauxite mining in this specific site will be a gamble, and the associated long-term damage would be irreversibly initiated before the prospects are known.

The Supreme Court ruling on Samata v/s the State of AP, directed that any enterprise in the tribal areas should ensure 20 per cent admissions to tribals in their schools, 20 per cent jobs for tribals in the industry and 20 per cent profits for the overall development of the area. Nothing has happened so far. The present government does not seem inclined to implement the SC others, in spite of reminders from government of India. The Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) has already, twice, rejected the proposals of industries department citing specific instances where industrialisation did not benefit tribals at all.

Now the TAC, without even a project proposal on hand, has passed the resolution requesting amendment of the regulation, obviously at the instance of the government. So the ball is likely to be pushed into the governor’s court. It is necessary that he assess the viability of the proposal using his vast experience as an economist. In his capacity as a guardian of Scheduled Areas, and in the interests of peace and good governance, the governor should insist that his government approach the TAC resolution only after implementing the Supreme Court directions given in Samata v/s State of AP in all the industries & mines in the Scheduled Areas.

The route of development through mining process, spells displacement, devastation and indebtedness of the region. Worse still, it sees the tribals as a hindrance to national interest.

(The writer is a tribal activist and director of Sakti)







W.P. No. 5515/87 M.P.No.7398/87 Date:May 1987

W.P. No. 6175/87 M.P.No.8273/87 Date:May 1987

 "Managing Director Godavari plywoods ltd. Rampachodavaram E.G.Dt. be and hereby is directed not to cut any mango trees, jamun and jack trees and cutting the forests of Maredumilli mandal, E.G.Dt."

 Only matured or dying trees were to be felled. Jeelugu (Caryota urens) palm, trees yielding minor forest produce like tamarind or cane brakes, creepers were not to be touched. A gap of 20 meters from a stream.)         --Times of India, April 30, 1991.


The candidate has chosen a topical subject, very relevant to our thinking on culture, cognition and language. He has red widely and is familiar with the literature that matters. His linguistic and anthropological reasoning is sound. His language is clear and simple.

...evidence of the investigator's ability as a linguist by special training and as a linguistic anthropologist by self - cultivated interest.

Prof. A.Munirathnam Reddy, Head, Department of Social Anthropology,S.V.University, Tirupati - 517502


Enabling the Community to Gain Command Over the Administrative Process is Empowerment.


"Today the development is manaement without governance and governanace is without proper participation."



A.P.Cabinet Sub - Committee Report on Left Wing Extrremists. - P.Sivaramakrishna.

The only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters, never the violations of the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, mismanagement of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of Socio-economic entities etc. 



if the R & R is found to be lagging with reference to the fixed bench marks, the construction should accordingly be deferred / stopped;



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