'Government should ratify rules for PESA Act'

Mangalore hosts 7th national-level convention of tribals

Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal People past Secretary General Dr Vela Ram Ghogra said that the State governments should ratify the rules to implement Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996 effectively.

Speaking at seventh national-level convention of the tribals organised by Adivasi Janajathi Adikar Manch here on Wednesday, he said that about 16 years have passed since PESA was passed but even now it has not been implemented.

Till the time the legislative and the bureaucracy is held accountable, the conditions of adivasis will not improve in the country. Initially, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan were included in the PESA, now even Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are also included.

The PESA Act also wants to revive the traditional practices of the tribes.
He said that Governors should exercise power entrusted on them in the Article 244 of the Indian Constitution to protect the rights of the tribals. Unfortuantely, the ministers and Chief Ministers are not allowing the Governor to use his power to protect the rights of the tribals. Had the Governors made use of his power, the tribals would not have been holding protest to protect their land and rights, he added.

The Governors should ensure that the identity of the tribals are preserved.
Stating that governments considered water, forest as resources, he said for tribals, water, forest are nature and are worshipped as God. The Government should stop considering nature as resources. If natural resources are over exploited, then the human beings can not survive in this world, he added.

Koraga leader Baalraj said that tribals have been fighting to protect their rights all over the country. All the tribals should be united to build a great nation of the tribes. “We have to face challenges and overcome all the hurdles that come in the way of protecting our rights,” he said.

Koral Kala Thanda, Kudla, members staged Koraga dance highlighting the traditional lifestyle of Koraga community including marriage, hunting and so on.

Ramesh Koraga from Koral Kala Thanda said that the conventions should help the tribes to find a solution to eke out for living. Over 200 tribal representatives from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarath, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and others are taking part in the two-day convention.

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