Give tribals their right over Rs 50,000 cr worth of forest produce
Prasanna Mohanty | July 14, 2010
The centre’s move to establish a unified command in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal to fight the Maoists is nothing more than a cosmetic exercise. Not only has such a step made no material difference in the fight against insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam—from where the concept has been borrowed—it does not address the key issues, which are effective intelligence and a strike force capable of taking on the Maoists the way the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh do.
The only difference in the present set-up from the one being proposed under the unified command system is the presence of a retired major general of the army. But the presence of a senior army official will make a difference only if he is charged with providing specialized guerrilla training to the local police forces. There is no indication of this in the plan unveiled at yesterday’s meeting with the chief ministers. That the chief secretaries of the state would head the unified command is no more than the formalizing of a system which already exists.
All the states battling the Maoists have a well-established mechanism in which all the paramilitary forces and the state police forces, including the STFs and the Greyhounds, work out a joint plan of action and launch a coordinated offensive, including the area-domination exercise. What has gone wrong is the reluctance of the state police to take part in the offensive, a complete lack of intelligence and training and focus of the paramilitary forces at the battle front. Had that not been the case, the Maoists would not have butchered the CRPF contingents with unfailing regularity in Chhattisgarh.
Fortunately, Jharkhand has now joint the anti-Maoist operation because Shibu Soren is out and the state is under president’s rule. Unfortunately, however, Bihar, which is poll-bound, has refused to join the battle. It will have to, sooner than later, but by then it may be too late and provide an easy escape route to the ultras facing resistance in other bordering states—something that happened in the case of Chhattisgarh and Orissa over the past two decades. Bihar refuses to learn from history.
The other worthwhile development at the chief ministers’ meet was an increased focus on implementing the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, particularly regarding the rights over minor forest produce, which the planning commission estimates to be worth Rs 50,000 crore. By law, the tribals are the owners of the minor forest produce but this has been denied to them for long. Imagine what this Rs 50,000 crore will do for the economic wellbeing of the tribals if they get their rightful ownership!
The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls
The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na
In a step towards Telecom Reforms which aim to provide internet and tele connectivity for the marginalised section, the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communica
Raising concerns over rising seawater levels and climate change, Mumbai First, a 25-year-old public-private partnership policy think tank, has written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister for environment and climate change, tourism and protocol, Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai munic
After the recent announcement of the government guarantee for Security Receipts (SRs) to be issued by a public sector-owned National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), there is a surge of interest around this desi version of a super bad bank. The entity will acquire around ₹2 trillion bad debts fr