Tribals protest Rourkela Municipality upgrade
Statesman News Service
Rourkela, 20 October
Reiterating their opposition to the government’s decision to up-grade Rourkela municipality as a municipal corporation, the tribals took it to the streets here today.
More than 1,000 tribals participated in a rally organised by Sundergarh Adivasi Bachao Manch (SABM).
Addressing the agitators, social activist Swami Agnivesh alleged that the tribals continue to be meted out negligence and indifference, and the decision to up-grade Rourkela as a municipal corporation is one of such anti-tribal moves.
“It is a conspiracy against the tribals to declare Rourkela as a municipal corporation. The autho-rities should implement Panchayat Extension Schedule Act (PESA) properly, and then there would be no need for any municipal corporation,” he said, while warning that he would continue to oppose any move to exploit the tribals.
Observing that around 70 per cent population of Sundergarh district are tribal, the activist charged that they are still deprived of their just rights.
“The tribals have made great contribution for the society and country. It is unfortunate that they are not given even their due,” he said.
The convenor of the Manch, Ms Lily Kujur charged that both Centre and state government have neglected the tribals.
“The notification regarding declaration of Rourkela Municipal Corporation is against the tribals of the scheduled district. We will oppose the move tooth and nail,” she said.
Ms Kujur alleged that nefarious attempts are being made to ruin the culture, language and the overall social fabrics of the tribals.
She demanded that PESA should immediately be implemented as this would work in the interest of the tribals.
Taking part in the stir, Mr Budhwa Xoxo, a lawyer, informed that the SABM may decide to move the courts against the corporation notification.
A delegation of the Manch later submitted a memorandum to the ADM, Rourkela, who assured that the demands would be considered.
“Their memorandum demanded implementation of the scheduled area provisions under the Constitution. Besides, they also sought immediate withdrawal of the notification of Rourkela Municipal Corporation,” Mr K Sudarshan Chakravarthy, ADM, Rourkela said.